Skip to main content

Full text of "Theocritus"

See other formats


-,n6i:^'^: 



•'■♦./ «< 



'^^ 















;*♦.'!« ,->-?''. 



r^ 



P^^K..*%^--r., 












-wi. 



.-*•* 



ilTillirni ml '-_ ' SH ■*'-' ' *> 




m.«..^_.T:. * 



.^,f*^S|^ 



^* 



■♦4 -%'v^^ 






iJ^i-^^-^ 









t.^^ 






l>si 






m^'*^. 










^irm-ifcjMiiiH 






\d^^ 



THE IDYLLS OF THEOCRITUS 



THEOCRITUS 

TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH VERSE 
BT CHARLES STUART CALVERLET 




Boston and Jfew Tork 

Houghton Mifflin and Company 

1906 



coj^te:n'ts 

IDYLLS PACE 

I. THE DEATH OF DAPHNIS 3 

II. THE SORCERESS 10 

III. THE SERENADE 17 

IV. THE HERDSMEN 20 

V. THE BATTLE OF THE BARDS 25 

VI. THE DRAWN BATTLE 36 

VII. HARVEST-HOME 39 

VIII. THE TRIUMPH OF DAPHNIS 47 

IX. PASTORALS 53 

X. THE TWO WORKMEN 55 

XI. THE giant's wooing 59 

XII. THE COMRADES 63 

XIII. HYLAS 65 

XIV. THE LOVE OF iESCHINES 70 
XV. THE FESTIVAL OF ADONIS 74 

XVI. THE VALUE OF SONG 82 

XVII. THE PRAISE OF PTOLEMY 88 

XVIII. THE BRIDAL OF HELEN 94 

XIX. LOVE STEALING HONEY 99 

XX. TOWN AND COUNTRY 100 

XXI. THE FISHERMEN 102 

XXII. THE SONS OF LEDA 106 

XXIII. LOVE AVENGED 117 

XXIV. THE INFANT HERACLES 121 

XXV. HERACLES THE LION SLAYER 128 

XXVI. THE BACCHANALS 140 

V 



CONTENTS 

XXVII. A countryman's wooing 143 

XXVIII. THE DISTAFF 148 

XXIX. LOVES 150 

XXX. THE DEATH OF ADONIS 152 

XXXI. LOVES 155 



FRAGMENT FROM THE "BERENICE" 159 



EPIGRAMS AND EPITAPHS 

I. -VI. 163-165 

VII. FOR A STATUE OF iESCULAPIUS 166 

VIII. ORTHO'S EPITAPH 166 

IX. EPITAPH OF CLEONICUS 166 

X. FOR A STATUE OF THE MUSES 167 

XI. EPITAPH OF EUSTHENES 167 

XII. FOR A TRIPOD ERECTED BY DAMOTELES TO 

BACCHUS 168 

XIII. FOR A STATUE OF ANACREON 168 

XIV. EPITAPH OF EURYMEDON 168 
XV. ANOTHER 169 

XVI. FOR A STATUE OF THE HEAVENLY APHRODITE 169 

XVII. TO EPICHARMUS 170 

XVIII. EPITAPH OF CLEITA NURSE OF MEDEIUS 170 

XIX. TO ARCHILOCHUS 171 

XX. UNDER A STATUE OF PEISANDER 171 

XXI. EPITAPH OF HIPPONAX 172 

XXII. ON HIS OWN BOOK 173 



IDYLLS 




IDYLL I 

THE DEATH OF DAPHNIS 

THYRSIS A GOATHERD 

T H Y R s I s . Sweet are the whispers of yon pine that makes 
Low music o'er the spring, and, Goatherd, sweet 
Thy piping; second thou to Pan alone. 
Is his the horned ram ? then thi?ie the goat. 
Is his the goat ? to thee shall fall the kid; 
And toothsome is the flesh ofunmilked kids. 
GOATHERD. Shepherd, thy lay is as the noise of streams 
Falling and falling aye from yon tall crag. 
If for their meed the Muses claim the ewe. 
Be thine the stall-fed lamb; or if they choose 
The lamb, take thou the scarce less-valued ewe. 
THYRSIS. Pray, by the J^ymphs,pray, Goatherd^ seat 

thee here 
Against this hill-slope in the tamarisk shade y 

3 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL I 

And pipe me somewhat, while I guard thy goats, 
GOATHERD. I duvst Hot, Shepherd, O I durst not pipe 
At noontide; fearing Pan, who at that hour 
Rests from the toils of hunting. Harsh is he; 
Wrath at his nostrils aye sits sentinel. 
But, ThyrsiSy thou canst sing ofDaphnis' woes; 
High is thy name for woodland minstrelsy: 
Then rest we in the shadow of the elm 
Fronting Priapus and the Fountain-nymphs, 
There, where the oaks are and the Shepherd's seat. 
Sing as thou sang'st erewhile, when matched with him 
Of Libya, Chromis; and F II give thee, first. 
To milk, ay thrice, a goat — she suckles twins, 
Tet nevertheless can fill two milkpailsfull; — 
JVext, a deep drinking-cup, with sweet wax scoured, 
Two-handled, newly-carven, smacking yet 
O' the chisel. Ivy reaches up and climbs 
About its lip, gilt here and there with sprays 
Of woodbine, that enwreathed about it flaunts 
Her saffron fruitage. Framed therein appears 
A damsel ('tis a miracle of art) 
In robe and snood: and suitors at her side 
With locks fair-flowing, on her right and left. 
Battle with words, that fail to reach her heart. 
She, laughing, glances now on this, flings now 
Her chance regards on that: they, all for love 

4 



THE DEATH OF DAPHNIS 

Wearied and eye-swolriyjind their labour lost, 
Carven elsewhere an ancient fisher stands 
On the rough rocks: thereto the old man with pains 
Drags his great casting-net y as one that toils 
Full stoutly: every fibre of his frame 
Seems fishing; so about the gray-beard* s neck 
(In might a youngster yet ) the sinews swell. 
Hard by that wave-beat sire a vineyard bends 
Beneath its graceful load of burnished grapes; 
A boy sits on the rude fence watching them. 
Jf ear him two foxes: down the rows of grapes 
One ranging steals the ripest; one assails 
fVith wiles the poor lad's scrip, to leave him soon 
Stranded and supperless. He plaits meanwhile 
fVith ears of com a right fine cricket-trap, 
And fits it on a rush: for vines, for scrip. 
Little he cares, enamoured of his toy. 

The cup is hung all round with lissom briar. 
Triumph of Molian art, a wondrous sight. 
It was a ferryman's of Calydon: 
A goat it cost me, and a great white cheese, 
J^e'eryet my lips came near it, virgin still 
It stands. And welcome to such boon art thou. 
If for my sake thou 'It sing that lay of lays. 
I jest not: up, lad, sing: no songs thou 'It own 
In the dim land where all things are forgot. 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL I 

T H Y R s I s \jings'2 . Begin, sweet Maids, begin the wood- 
land song. 
The voice ofThyrsis. Etna's Thyrsis I. 
Where were ye, J^ymphs, oh where, while Daphnis pined? 
In fair Pen'eus' or in Pindus* glens? 
For great Anapus' stream was not your haunt, 
JsTor Mtna's cliff', nor Acis* sacred rill. 

Begin, sweet Maids, begin the woodland song. 
O'er him the wolves, the jackals howled o'er him; 
The lion in the oak-copse mourned his death. 

Begin, sweet Maids, begin the woodland song. 
The kine and oxen stood around his feet. 
The heifers and the calves wailed all for him. 

Begin, sweet Maids, begin the woodland song. 
First from the mountain Hermes came, and said, 
^'Daphnis, who frets thee? Lad, whom lov'st thou so?" 

Begin, sweet Maids, begin the woodland song. 
Came herdsmen, shepherds came, and goatherds came ; 
All asked what ailed the lad. Priapus came 
And said, ''WTiy pine, poor Daphnis? while the maid 
Foots it round every pool and every grove, 

(Beginy sweet Maids, begin the woodland song) 
"O lack-love and perverse, in quest of thee; 
Herdsman in name, but goatherd rightlier called. 
With eyes that yearn the goatherd marks his kids 
Run riot, for he fain would frisk as they: 

6 



THE DEATH OF DAPHNIS 

(Begin, sweet Maids, begin the woodland song) 
**fFith eyes that yearn dost thou too mark the laugh 
Of maidens, for thou may*st not share their glee,** 
Still naught the herdsman said: he drained alone 
His bitter portion, till the fatal end. 

Begin, sweet Maids, begin the woodland song. 
Came Aphrodite, smiles on her sweet face. 
False smiles, for heavy was her heart, and spake : 
**So, Daphnis, thou must try a fall with Love ! 
But stalwart Love hath won the fall of thee.'* 

Begin, sweet Maids, begin the woodland song. 
Then '^ Ruthless Aphrodite,** Daphnis said, 
** Accursed Aphrodite, foe to man! 
Say' St thou mine hour is come, my sun hath set? 
Dead as alive, shall Daphnis work Love woe. 

Begin, sweet Maids, begin the woodland song. 
" Fly to Mount Ida, where the swain (men say) 
And Aphrodite — to Anchisesjly : 
There are oak forests ; here but galingale. 
And bees that make a music round the hives. 

Begin, sweet Maids, begin the woodlatid song. 
*' Adonis owed his bloom to tending flocks 
And smiting hares, and bringing wild beasts down. 

Begin, sweet Maids, begin the woodland song. 
**Face once more Diomed: tell him 'I have slain 
The herdsman Daphnis ; nozv I challenge thee.* 

7 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL I 

Begin, sweet Maids, begin the woodland song, 
^^ Farewell, wolf, jackal, mountain-prisoned hear! 
Te 'II see no more by grove or glade or glen 
Tour herdsman Daphnis ! Are thuse, farewell. 
And the bright streams that pour down Thymbris* side. 

Begin, sweet Maids, begin the woodland song. 
'^I am that Daphnis, who lead here my kine. 
Bring here to drink my oxen and my calves. 

Begin, sweet Maids, begin the woodland song. 
« Pan, Pan, oh whether great Lyceum's crags 
Thou haunfst to-day, or mightier Mtenalus, 
Come to the Sicel isle ! Abandon now 
Rhium and Helice, and the mountain-cairn 
(That e'en gods cherish) of Lycaons son ! 

Forget, sweet Maids, forget your woodland song. 
" Come, king of song, o'er this my pipe, compact 
JVith wax and honey -breathing, arch thy lip: 
For surely I am torn from life by Love. 

Forget, sweet Maids, forget your woodland song. 
''From thicket now and thorn let violets spring, 
J^ow let white lilies drape the juniper. 
And pines grow figs, and nature all go wrong: 
For Daphnis dies. Let deer pursue the hounds. 
And mountain-owls outsing the nightingale. 

Forget, sweet Maids, forget your woodland song.'' 



THE DEATH OF DAPHNIS 

So Spake he, and he never spake again. 
Fain Aphrodite would have raised his head; 
But all his thread was spun. So down the stream 
Went Daphnis : closed the waters o'er a head 
Dear to the Kine, of nymphs not unheloved. 

JsTow give me goat and cup; that I may milk 
The one, and pour the other to the Muse, 
Fare ye welly Muses, o'er and o'er farewell! 
I'll sing strains lovelier yet in days to he, 
GOATHERD. Thyrsis, let honey and the honeycomb 
Fill thy sweet mouth, and figs of Mgilus: 
For ne'er cicala trilled so sweet a song. 
Here is the cup : mark, friend, how sweet it smells : 
The Hours, thou 'It say, have washed it in their well. 
Hither, Cissatha! Thou, go milk her! Kids, 
Be steady, or your pranks will rouse the ram. 




IBTLL II 

THE SORCERESS 

fVhere are the hay-leaves, Thestylis, and the charms ? 

Fetch all ; with fiery wool the caldron crown ; 

Let glamour win me hack my false lord*s heart ! 

Twelve days the wretch hath not come nigh to me, 

J^or made inquiry if I die or live, 

Mor clamoured (oh unkindness !) at my door. 

Sure his swift fancy wanders otherwhere. 

The slave of Aphrodite and of Love. 

Fm off to Timagetus* wrestling-school 

At dawn, that I may see him and denounce 

His doings; hut Fll charm him now with charms. 

So shine out fair, O moon ! To thee I sing 

My soft low song : to thee and Hecate 

The dweller in the shades, at whose approach 

E'en the dogs quake, as on she moves through hlood 

And darkness and the harrows of the slain. 

All hail, dread Hecate: companion me 

Unto the end, and work me witcheries 

Potent as Circe or Medea wrought. 

Or Perimede of the golden hair! 

Turn, magic wheel, draw homeward him I love. 
First we ignite the grain. May, pile it on : 

10 



THE SORCERESS 

Where are thy witsflowriy timorous The sty lis? 

Shall I bejlouted, /, by such as thou ? 

Pile, and still say, " This pile is of his hones.'' 

Turn, magic wheel, draw homeward him I love, 
Delphis racks me : I burn him in these bays. 
As, flame-enkindled, they lift up their voice. 
Blaze once, and not a trace is left behind: 
So waste his flesh to powder in yon fire ! 

Turn, magic wheel, draw homeward him I love. 
E'en as I melt, not uninspired, the wax. 
May Mindian Delphis melt this hour with love : 
And, swiftly as this brazen wheel whirls round. 
May Aphrodite whirl him to my door. 

Turn, magic wheel, draw homeward him I love. 
J^ext bum the husks. Hell's adamantine floor 
And aught that else stands firm can Artemis move. 
Thestylis, the hounds bay up and down the town : 
The goddess stands i* the crossroads: sound the gongs. 

Turn, magic wheel, draw homeward him I love. 
Hushed are the voices of the winds and seas ; 
But O not hushed the voice of my despair. 
He bums my being up, who left me here 
JVb wife, no maiden, in my misery. 

Tum, magic wheel, draw homeward him Hove. 
Thrice I pour out; speak thrice, sweet mistress, thus: 
^'fFhatface soe'er hangs o*erhim be forgot 

11 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL II 

Clean as, in Dia, Theseus (legends say) 
Forgat his Ariadne's locks of love,'' 

Turn, magic wheel, draw homeward him Hove, 
The coltsfoot grows in Arcady, the weed 
That drives the mountain-colts and swift mares wild. 
Like them may Delphis rave: so, maniac-wise. 
Race from his burnished brethren home to me. 

Turn, magic wheel, draw homeward him I love. 
He lost this tassel from his robe; which I 
Shred thus, and cast it on the ragingfames. 
Ah baleful Love! why, like the marsh-bom leech. 
Cling to my flesh, and drain my dark veins dry? 

Turn, magic wheel, draw homeward him I love. 
From a crushed eft to-morrow he shall drink 
Death! But now, Thestylis, take these herbs and smear 
That threshold o'er, whereto at heart I cling 
Still, still — albeit he thinks scorn of me — 
And spit, and say, " 'T is Delphis' bones I smear," 

Turn, magic wheel, draw homeward him I love. 

[Exit Thestylis, 
J^ow, all alone, I'll weep a love whence sprung. 
When bom? Who wrought my sorrow? Anaxo came. 
Her basket in her hand, to Artemis' grove. 
Bound for the festival, troops of forest beasts 
Stood round, and in the midst a lioness. 

Bethink thee, mistress Moon, whence came my love. 
12 



THE SORCERESS 

Theucharidas' slave, my Thracian nurse now dead. 
Then my near neighbour, prayed me and implored 
To see the pageant: /, the poor doomed thing. 
Went with her, trailing a fine silken train. 
And gathering round me Clearistas robe. 

Bethink thee, mistress Moon, whence came my love. 
Jfow, the mid-highway reached by Lyconsfarm, 
Delphis and Eudamippus passed me by. 
With beards as lustrous as the woodbine* s gold 
And breasts more sheeny than thyself, O Moon, 
Fresh from the wrestler s glorious toil they came. 

Bethink thee, mistress Moon, whence came my love. 
I saw, I raved, smit (weakling) to my heart. 
My beauty withered, and I cared no more 
For all that pomp; and how I gained my home 
I know not: some strange fever wasted me. 
Ten nights and days I lay upon my bed. 

Bethink thee, mistress Moon, whence came my love. 
And wan became myfiesh, as 't had been dyed. 
And all my hair streamed off, and there was left 
But bones and skin. Whose threshold crossed I not. 
Or missed what grandam's hut who dealt in charms? 
For no light thing was this, and time sped on. 

Bethink thee, mistress Moon, whence came my love. 
At last I spake the truth to that my maid: 
''Seek, an thou canst, some cure for my sore pain. 

IS 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL II 

Alas, I am all the Mindian's! But begone. 
And watch by Timagetus' wrestling-school: 
There doth he haunt, there soothly take his rest. 

Bethink thee, mistress Moon, whence came my love. 
''Find him alone: nod softly: say, 'she waits;' 
And bring him.*' So I spake: she went her way. 
And brought the lustrous-limbed one to my roof. 
And I, the instant I beheld him step 
Lightfooted o'er the threshold of my door, 

(Bethink thee, mistress Moon, whence came my love,) 
Became all cold like snow, and from my brow 
Brake the damp dewdrops: utterance I had none, 
J^ot e'en such utterance as a babe may make 
That babbles to its mother in its dreams; 
But all my fair frame stiffened into wax. 

Bethink thee, mistress Moon, whence came my love. 
He bent his pitiless eyes on me; looked down. 
And sate him on my couch, and sitting, said: 
"Thou hast gained on me, Simcetha, (e'en as I 
Gained once on young Philinus in the race,) 
Bidding me hither ere I came unasked. 

Bethink thee, mistress Moon, whence came my love. 
**For I had come, by Eros I had come. 
This night, with comrades twain or may-be more. 
The fruitage of the Wine-god in my robe. 
And, wound about my brow with ribands red, 

14 



THE SORCERESS 

The silver leaves so dear to Heracles. 

Bethink thee, mistress Moon, whence came my love, 
''Had ye said 'Enter,* well: for 'mid my peers 
High is my name for goodliness and speed: 
I had kissed that sweet mouth once and gone my way. 
But had the door been barred, and I thrust out, 
fVith brand and axe would we have stormed ye then. 

Bethink thee, mistress Moon, whence came my love. 
*'J^ow be my thanks recorded, first to Love, 
J^ext to thee, maiden, who didst pluck me out, 
A half-burned helpless creature, from the flames. 
And badst me hither. It is Love that lights 
Afire more fierce than his of Lipara; 

(Bethink thee, mistress Moon, whence came my love.) 
*' Scares, mischief-mad, the maiden from her bower. 
The bride from her warm couch.'' He spake: and I, 
A willing listener, sat, my hand in his. 
Among the cushions, and his cheek touched mine. 
Each hotter than its wont, and we discoursed 
In soft low language. J^eed I prate to thee. 
Sweet Moon, of all we said and all we did? 
Till yesterday he found no fault with me, 
J^or I with him. But lo, to-day there came 
Philista's mother — hers who flutes to me — 
IVith her Melampo's;just when up the sky 
Gallop the mares that chariot rose-limbed Dawn : 

15 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL II 

And divers tales she brought me, with the rest 
How Delphis loved, she knew not rightly whom: 
But this she knew; that of the rich wine aye 
He poured ''to Love;*' and at the last had fled, 
To line, she deemed, the fair one's hall with flowers. 
Such was my visitor's tale, and it was true: 
For thrice, nay four times, daily he would stroll 
Hither, leave here full oft his Dorian flask: 
JsTow — 'tis a fortnight since I saw his face. 
Doth he then treasure something sweet elsewhere? 
Am I forgot? I 'II charm him now with charms. 
But let him try me more, and by the Fates 
He 'II soon be knocking at the gates of hell. 
Spells of such power are in this chest of mine. 
Learned, lady, from mine host in Palestine, 

Lady, farewell: turn ocean-ward thy steeds: 
As I have purposed, so shall I fulfil. 
Farewell, thou bright faced Moon! Ye stars,farewell. 
That wait upon the car of noiseless JsTight. 




IDYLL III 

THE SERENADE 

I pipe to Amaryllis; while my goatSy 
Tityrus their guardian, browse along the fell. 

Tityrus, as I love thee, feed my goats: 

And lead them to the spring, and, Tityrus, 'ware 
The lifted crest of yon gray Libyan ram. 
Ah winsome Amaryllis! fVhy no more 
Greet' St thou thy darling, from the cavemed rock 
Peeping all coyly? Think' st thou scorn of him? 
Hath a near view revealed him satyr-shaped 
Of chin and nostril? I shall hang me soon. 
See here ten apples: from thy favourite tree 

1 plucked them: I shall bring ten more anon. 
Ah witness my heart-anguish! Oh were I 
A booming bee, to waft me to thy lair. 
Threading the fern and ivy in whose depths 
Thou nestlest! I have learned what Love is now: 
Fell god, he drank the lioness's milk. 

In the wild woods his mother cradled him. 
Whose fire slow-bums me, smiting to the bone. 
O thou whose glance is beauty and whose heart 
All marble: O dark-eyebrowed maiden mine! 
Cling to thy goatherd, let him kiss thy lips. 
For there is sweetness in an empty kiss. 

17 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL III 

Thou wilt not ? Piecemeal I will rend the crown. 

The ivy -crown which, dear, I guard for thee, 

Inwov'n with scented parsley and withjiowers: 

Oh I am desperate — what betides me, what? — 

Still art thou deaf? I'll doff my coat of skins 

And leap into yon waves, where on the watch 

For mackerel Olpis sits: tho* I 'scape death. 

That I have all but died will pleasure thee. 

That learned I when (I murmuring *' loves she me?" ) 

The Love-in-absence, crushed, returned no sound. 

But shrank and shrivelled on my smooth young wrist, 

I learned it of the sieve-divining crone 

fVho gleaned behind the reapers yesterday: 

''Thou 'rt wrapt up all,'' Agraia said, ''in her; 

She makes of none account her worshipper," 

Lo! a white goat, and twins, I keep for thee: 
Mermnon's lass covets them: dark she is of skin: 
But yet hers be they; thou butfoolest me. 

She cometh, by the quivering of mine eye. 
I'll lean against the pine-tree here and sing. 
She may look round: she is not adamant. 

\jSings^ Hippomenes, when he a maid would wed. 
Took apples in his hand and on he sped. 
Famed Atalanta's heart was won by this; 
She marked, and maddening sank in Love's abyss. 

18 



THE SERENADE 

From Othrys did the seer Melampus stray 
To Pylos with his herd: and lo there lay 
In a swain* s arms a maid of heauty rare; 
Alphesibcray wise of heart, she hare. 

Did not Adonis rouse to such excess 
Of frenzy her whose name is Loveliness, 
(He a mere lad whose wethers grazed the hill) 
That, dead, he 's pillowed on her bosom still? 

Endymion sleeps the sleep that changeth not : 
And, maiden mine, I envy him his lot! 
Envy lasion's: his it was to gain 
Bliss that I dare not breathe in ears profane. 

My head aches. What reck'st thou? I sing no more. 
E'en where I fell Fll lie, until the wolves 
Rend me — may that be honey in thy mouth! 




IDYLL IV 

THE HERDSMEN 

BATTUS CORYDON 

B ATT US. Who owns these cattle, Cory don? Philondas? 

Pry thee say. 
CORYDON. JVb, JEgon: and he gave them me to tend 

while he 's away, 
BATTUS. Dost milk them in the gloaming, when none 

is nigh to see ? 
CORYDON. The old man brings the calves to suck, 

and keeps an eye on me. 
BATTUS. And to what region then hathjlown the 

cattle s rightful lord? 
CORYDON. Hast thou not heard? With Milo he 

vanished Elisward. 
BATTUS. How! was the wrestlers oil e'er yet so much 

as seen by him? 
CORYDON. Men say he rivals Heracles in lustiness of 

limb. 
BATTUS. I'm Polydeuces' match (or so my mother says) 

and more. 
CORYDON. — So off he started; with a spade, and of 

these ewes a score. 

20 



THE HERDSMEN 

B ATT US. This Milo will be teaching wolves how they 

should raven next, 
CORYDON. — And by these bellowings his kine pro- 

claim how sore they 're vexed. 
BATTUS. Poor kine! they 've found their master a sorry 

knave indeed. 
CORYDON. They're poor enough, I grant you: they 

have not heart to feed, 
BATTUS. Look at that heifer! sure there 's naught, save 

bare bones, left of her. 
Pray, does she browse on dewdrops, as doth the grass- 
hopper? 
CORYDON. J^ot she, by heaven! She pastures now by 

JEsarus* gladeSy 
And handfulsfair I pluck her there of young and green 

grass-blades; 
J^ow bounds about Latymnus, that gathering-place of 

shades, 
BATTUS. That bull again, the red one, my word but he 

is lean ! 
I wish the Sybarite burghers aye may offer to the queen 
Of heaven as pitiful a beast: those burghers are so mean! 
CORYDON. Tet to the Salt Lake's edges I drive him, I 

can swear; 
Up Physcus, up JsTeathus' side — he lacks not victual 

there 

SI 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL IV 

fVith dittany and endive and foxglove for his fare, 
B ATT us. JVelly well! I pity Mgon. His cattle, go they 

must 
To rack and ruin, all because vain-glory was his lust. 
The pipe that erst he fashioned is doubtless scored with 

rustf 
CORY DON. Jfay, by the JVymphs! That pipe he left to 

me, the selfsame day 
He made for Pisa: I am too a minstrel in my way: 
JVell the flute-part in ^^Pyrrhus'' and in '^Glauca'* can 

I play. 
I sing too ''Here 's to Croton'* and ''Zacynthus O 't is 

fair,- 
And " Eastward to Lacinium : " — the bruiser Milo 

there 
His single self ate eighty loaves; there also did he pull 
Down from its mountain-dwelling, by one hoof 

grasped, a bull. 
And gave it Amaryllis: the maidens screamed with 

fright; 
As for the owner of the bull, he only laughed outright. 
B ATT us. Sweet Amaryllis! thou alone, though dead, 

art unforgot. 
Dearer than thou, whose light is quenched, my very 

goats are not. 
Oh for the all-unkindly fate that's fallen to my lot! 

22 



THE HERDSMEN 

coRYDON. Cheer up, brave lad! to-morrow may ease 

thee of thy pain: 
Aye for the living are there hopes, past hoping are the 

slain: 
And now Zeus sends us sunshine, and now he sends us 

rain. 
BATTus. Fm better. Beat those young ones off! E'en 

now their teeth attack 
That olive's shoots, the graceless brutes! Back, with 

your white face, back ' 
CORYDON. Back to thy hill, Cymcetha! Great Pan, 

how deaf thou art! 
I shall be with thee presently, and in the end thou 'It 

smart, 
I warn thee, keep thy distance. Look, up she creeps 

again! 
Oh were my hare-crook in my hand, I'd give it to her 

then! 
BATTUS. For heaven's sake, Corydon,look here! Just 

now a bramble-spike 
Ran, there, into my instep — and oh how deep they strike, 
Those lancewood-shafts! A murrain light on that calf, 

I say ! 
I got it gaping after her. Canst thou discern it, pray? 
CORYDON. Ay, ay; and here I have it, safe in my 
finger-nails. 

23 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL IV 

B ATT VS. Eh! at how slight a matter how tall a warrior 

quails! 
CORYDON. Jfe^er range the hill-crest, Battus, all 

sandal-less and hare: 
Because the thistle and the thorn lift aye their plumed 

heads there. 
BATTUS. — Say, Cory don, does that old man we wot 

of ( tell me, please ! ) 
Still haunt the dark-browed little girl whom once he 

used to teased 
CORYDON. Ay my poor boy, that doth he: I saw them 

yesterday 
Down by the byre; and, trust me, loving enough were 

they. 
BATTUS. Well done, my veteran light-o'-love! In 

deeming thee mere man, 
I wronged thy sire: some Satyr he, or an uncouth-limbed 

Pan. 




IDYLL V 

THE BATTLE OF THE BARDS 

COMATAS LACON 

MORSON 

Com AT AS. Goats, from a shepherd who stands here^ 

from Lacon, keep away: 
Sibyrtas owns him; and he stole my goatskin yesterday, 
LACON. Hi! lambs! avoid yon fountain. Have ye not 

eyes to see 
Comatas, him who filched a pipe but two days back 

from me? 
COMATAS. Sibyrtas' bondsman own a pipe? whence 

got St thou that, and how? 
Tootling through straws with Cory don mayhap' s 

beneath thee now? 
L A c o N. ' T was Lycon *s gift, your highness. But pray, 

Comatas, say. 
What is that skin wherewith thou saidst that Lacon 

walked away? 
fVhy, thy lord's self had ne'er a skin whereon his limbs 

to lay, 
COMATAS. The skin that Crocylus gave me, a dark one 

streaked with white, 

25 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL V 

The day he slew his she-goat. fVhy, thou wert ill with 

spite. 
Then, my false friend; and thou would' st end by 

beggaring me quite. 
LACON. Did Lacon, did Calcethis' son purloin a goat- 
skin? J^o, 
By Pan that haunts the sea-beach! Lad, if I served 

thee so. 
Crazed may I drop from yon hill-top to Crathis* stream 

below ! 
COM AT AS. Jf or pipe of thine, good fellow — the 

Ladies of the Lake 
So be still kind and good to me — did e'er Comatas 

take, 
LACON. Be Daphnis' woes my portion ^ should that my 

credence win ! 
Still, if thou list to stake a kid — that surely were no 

sin — 
Come on, Vll sing it out with thee — until thou givest 

in, 
COMATAS. '^The hog he braved Athene,'' As for the 

kid, 't is there: 
Tou stake a lamb against him — that fat one — if you 

dare, 
LACON. Fox! were that fair for either? At shearing 

who 'd prefer 

26 



THE BATTLE OF THE BARDS 

Horsehair to wool? or when the goat stood handy y 

suffer her 
To nurse her firstling, a?id himself go milk a blatant cur? 
COM AT AS. The same who deemed his hornet' s-huzz 

the true cicala's note. 
And braved — like you — his better. And so forsooth 

you vote 
My kid a trifle? Then come on, fellow! I stake the goat. 
LACON. }Vhy be so hot? Art thou on fire? First prythee 

take thy seat 
'J^eath this wild woodland olive: thy tones will sound 

more sweet. 
Here jails a cold rill drop by drop, and green grass- 
blades uprear 
Their heads, and fallen leaves are thick, and locusts 

prattle here. 
COM AT AS. Hot I am not; but hurt I am, and sorely ^ 

when I think 
That thou canst look me in the face and never bleach nor 

blink — 
Me, thine own boyhood's tutor! Go, train the she-wolfs 

brood; 
Train dogs — that they may rend thee! This, this is 

gratitude ! 
LACON. fFhen learned I from thy practice or thy 

preaching aught that 's right, 

27 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL V 

Thou puppet, thou misshapen lump of ugliness and 

spite? 
COM AT AS. When? When I heat thee, wailing sore: yon 

goats looked on with glee, 
And bleated; and were dealt with e'en as I had dealt 

with thee. 
LA CON. Well, hunchback, shallow be thy grave as was 

thy judgment then! 
But hither, hither! Thou 'It not dip in herdsman's lore 

again, 
COMATAS. J^ay, here are oaks and galingale : the hum 

of housing bees 
Makes the place pleasant, and the birds are piping in 

the trees. 
And here are two cold streamlets; here deeper shadows 

fall 
Than yon place owns, and look what cones drop from 

the pine-tree tall. 
LAC ON. Come hither, and tread on lambswool that is 

soft as any dream : 
Still more unsavoury than thyself to me thy goatskins 

seem. 
Here will I plant a bowl of milk, our ladies' grace to win; 
And one, as huge, beside it, sweet olive-oil therein. 
COMATAS. Come hither, and trample dainty fern and 

poppy-blossom: sleep 

28 



THE BATTLE OF THE BARDS 

On goatskins that are softer than thy fleeces piled three 

deep. 
Here will I plant eight milkpails, great Pan's regard 

to gain. 
Round them eight cups: full honeycombs shall every cup 

contain. 
LACON. Weill There essay thy woodcraft: thence fight 

me, never hudge 
From thine own oak; e'en have thy way. But who shall 

he our judge? 
Oh, if Lycopas with his kine should chance this way to 

trudge! 
COM AT AS. J^ay, I want no Lycopas. But hail yon 

woodsman, do: 
*Tis Morson — see! his arms are full of bracken — there y 

by you. 
LACON. fVe HI hail him. 
c o M A T A s. Ay, you hail him. 
LACON. Friend, ' t will not take thee long : 

We We striving which is master, we twain, in woodland 

song: 
And thou, my good friend Morson, ne'er look with 

favouring eyes 
On me; nor yet to yonder lad be fain to judge the prize. 
COMATAS. J^ay, by the JsTymphs, sweet Morson, ne'er 
for Comatas* sake 

29 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL V 

Stretch thou a point; nor e'er let him undue advantage 

take. 
Sibyrtas owns yon wethers; a Thurian is he: 
And here, my friend, Eumares' goats, of Syharis,you 

may see, 
LACON. And who asked thee, thou naughty knave, to 

whom belonged these flocks, 
Sibyrtas, or (it might be) me? Eh, thou'rt a chatterbox! 
CO MAT AS. The simple truth, most worshipful, is all 

that I allege: 
Fm not for boasting. But thy wit hath all too keen an 

edge. 
LACON. Come sing, if singing 's in thee — and may our 

friend get back 
To town alive! Heaven help us, lad, how thy tongue 

doth clack! 
COM AT AS lyings'^' Daphnis the mighty minstrel 

was less precious to the JsTine 
Than I. I offered yesterday two kids upon their shrine. 
LACON \jings'2' Ay, but Apollo fancies me hugely: for 

him I rear 
A lordly ram: and, look you, the Carnival is near. 
COM AT AS. Tzvin kids hath every goat I milk, save two. 

My maid, my own. 
Eyes me and asks ''At milking tim£, rogue, art thou all 

aloner 

30 



THE BATTLE OF THE BARDS 

LACON. Go to! nigh twenty baskets doth Laconfill with 
cheese: 

Hath time to woo a sweetheart too upon the blossomed 
leas. 

COM AT AS. Clarissa pelts her goatherd with apples, 
should he stray 

By with his goats; and pouts her lip in a quaint charm- 
ing way. 

LACON. Me too a darling smooth of face notes as I tend 
my flocks: 

How maddeningly o'er that fair neck ripple those shining 
locks! 

COM AT AS. Tho' dogrose and anemone are fair in their 
degree 

The rose that blooms by garden-walls still is the rose 
for me. 

LACON. Tho' acorns' cups are fair, their taste is bitter- 
ness, and still 

ril choose, for honeysweet are they, the apples of the hill. 

COM AT AS. A cushat I will presently procure and give 
to her 

Who loves me: I know where it sits, up in the juniper. 

LACON. Pooh! a soft fleece, to make a coat, I'll give the 
day I shear 

My brindled ewe — (no hand but mine shall touch it J 
— to my dear. 

31 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL V 

COM ATAS. Backy lambs, from that wild-olive: and he 

content to browse 
Here on the shoulder of the hill, beneath the myrtle boughs, 
LACON. Runy (will ye? ) Ball and Dogstar, down from 

that oak tree, run : 
And feed where Spot is feeding, and catch the morning 

sun. 
COM AT AS. I have a bowl of cypress-wood: I have 

besides a cup: 
Praxiteles designed them: for her they We treasured up, 
LACON. I have a dog who throttles wolves: he loves 

the sheep, and they 
Love him: I'll give him to my dear, to keep wild beasts 

at bay, 
coMATAS. Te locusts that overleap myfence, oh let my 

vines escape 
Your clutches, I beseech you: the bloom is on the grape, 
LACON. Te crickets y mark how nettled our friend the 

goatherd is! 
I weeny ye cost the reapers pangs as acute as his. 
COMATAS. Those foxes with their bushy tails, I hate to 

see them crawl 
Round Micon's homestead and purloin his grapes at 

evenfall. 
LACON. I hate to see the beetles that come warping on 

the wind, 

32 



THE BATTLE OF THE BARDS 

And climb Philondas' trees, and leave never a Jig behind. 
coMATAS. Have you forgot that cudgelling I gave you? 

At each stroke 
Tou grinned and twisted with a grace y and clung to 

yonder oak. 
LA CON. That I've forgot — but I have not, how once 

Eumares tied 
Tou to that selfsame oak-trunk, and tanned your unclean 

hide. 
COMATAS. There's some one ill — of heartburn. Tou 

note it, I presume, 
Morson? Go quick, and fetch a squill from some old 

beldam's tomb, 
LACON. I think I'm stinging somebody, as Morson too 

perceives — 
Go to the river and dig up a clump of sowbread-leaves. 
COMATAS. May Himerafow, not water, but milk: 

and may'st thou blush, 
Crathis, with wine; and fruitage grow upon every rush. 
LACON. For me may Sybaris' fountain flow, pure honey: 

so that you. 
My fair, may dip your pitcher each mom in honey-dew. 
COMATAS. My goats are fed on clover and goat' s- 

delight: they tread 
On lentisk leaves; or lie them down, ripe strawberries 

o'er their head, 

33 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL V 

LAC ON. My sheep crop honeysuckle bloom, while all 

around them blows 
In clusters rich the jasmine, as brave as any rose. 
COM AT AS. I scorn my maid; for when she took my 

cushat, she did not 
Draw with both hands my face to hers and kiss me on 

the spot. 
LA CON. Hove my love, and hugely: for, when I gave 

my flute, 
I was rewarded with a kiss, a loving one to boot. 
COM AT AS. Lacon, the nightingale should scarce be 

challenged by the jay, 
JsTor swan by hoopoe: but, poor boy, thou aye wertfor 

afray. 
MORSON. / bid the shepherd hold his peace. Comatas, 

unto you 
I, Morson, do adjudge the lamb. Tou' II first make 

offering due 
Unto the nymphs: then savoury meat you'll send to 

Morson too. 
COM AT AS. By Pan I will! S?iort, all my herd of he- 
goats: I shall now 
O'er Lacon, shepherd as he is, crow ye shall soon see 

how. 
Vve won, and I could leap sky-high! Ye also dance 

and skip, 

34 



THE BATTLE OF THE BARDS 

My homed ewes: in Syharis' fount to-morrow all shall 

dip. 
Ho! you, sir, with the glossy coat and dangerous crest; 

you dare 
Look at a ewe, till I have slain my lamb, and ill you *ll 

fare. 
What! is he at his tricks again? He is, and he will get 
(Or my name's not ComatasJ, a proper pounding yet. 




IDYLL VI 

THE DRAWN BATTLE 

DAPHNIS DAMCETAS 

Daphnis the herdsman and Damcetas once 
Had driven, Aratus, to the selfsame glen. 
One chin was yellowing, one showed half a beard. 
And by a brookside on a summer noon 
The pair sat down and sang; but Daphnis led 
The song, for Daphnis was the challenger, 
DAPHNIS. See ! Galatea pelts thy flock with fruit, 
And calls their master ' Lack4ove,* Polypheme. 
Thou mark' St her not, blind, blind, but pipe st aye 
Thy wood-notes. See again , she smites thy dog: 
Sea-ward the fleeced flocks' ^entinel peers and barks, 
And, through the clear wave visible to her still, 
Careers along the gently babbling beach. 
Look that he leap not on the maid new-risen 
From her sea-bath and rend her dainty limbs. 
She fools thee, near or far, like thistle-waifs 
In hot sweet summer -.flies from thee when wooedy 
Unwooed pursues thee: risks all moves to win; 
For, Polypheme, things foul seem fair to Love. 
And then, due prelude made, Damcetas sang. 
36 



THE DRAWN BATTLE 

D A MCE T AS. I marked her pelt my dog, I was not 

blind. 
By Pan, by this my one my precious eye 
That bounds my vision now and evermore! 
But Telemus the Seer, be his the woe. 
His and his children's, that he promised me! 
Yet do I too tease her; I pass her by. 
Pretend to woo another: — and she hears 
(Heaven help me! ) and is faint with jealousy; 
And hurryiyig from the sea-wave as if stung. 
Scans with keen glance my grotto and my flock, 
'Twas I hissed on the dog to bark at her; 
For, when I loved her, he would whine and lay 
His muzzle in her lap. These things she 7/ note 
Mayhap, and message send on message soon: 
But I will bar my door until she swear 
To make me on this isle fair bridal-bed. 
And I am less unlovely than men say. 
Hooked into the mere (the mere was calm). 
And goodly seemed my beard, and goodly seemed 
My solitary eye, and, half-revealed, 
My teeth gleamed whiter than the Parian marl. 
Thrice for good luck I spat upon my robe: 
That learned I of the hag Cottytaris — her 
fVho fluted lately with Hippocoon's mowers. 



^7 



THEOCRITUS 



IDYLL VI 



Damcetas then kissed Daphnis lovingly: 
One gave a pipe and one a goodly jlute. 
Straight to the shepherd's flute and herdsman' s pipe 
The younglings hounded in the soft green grass: 
And neither was o'ermatched, but matchless both. 




IDYLL VII 

HARVEST-HOME 

Once on a time did Eucritus and I 
(With us Amyntas) to the riverside 
Steal from the city. For Lycopeus' sons 
Were that day busy with the harvest-home, 
Antigenes and Phrasidemus, sprung 
( If aught thou holdest by the good old names) 
By Clytia from great Chalcon — him who erst 
Planted one stalwart knee against the rock. 
And lo, beneath his foot Purine's rill 
Brake forth, and at its side poplar and elm 
Showed aisles of pleasant shadow, greenly roofed 
By tufted leaves. Scarce midway were we now, 
J^oryet descried the tomb of Brasilas: 
When, thanks be to the Muses, there drew near 
A wayfarer from Crete, young Lycidas. 
The homed herd was his care: a glance might tell 
So much: for every inch a herdsman he. 
Slung o'er his shoulder was a ruddy hide 
Tom from a he-goat, shaggy, ta?igle-haired, 
That reeked of rennet yet: a broad belt clasped 
A patched cloak round his breast, and for a staff 
A gnarled wild-olive bough his right hand bore, 

39 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL VII 

Soon with a quiet smile he spoke — his eye 

Twinkled, and laughter sat upon his lip: 

''And whither ploddest thou thy weary way 

Beneath the noontide sun, Simichidas? 

For now the lizard sleeps upon the wall. 

The crested lark folds now his wandering wing. 

Dost speed, a hidden guest, to some reveller's hoard? 

Or townward to the treading of the grape? 

Forlo! recoiling from thy hurrying feet 

The pavement-stones ring out right merrily,'* 

Then I: ''Friend Lycid, all men say that none 

Of haymakers or herdsmen is thy match 

At piping: and my soul is glad thereat. 

Tet, to speak sooth, I think to rival thee. 

JsTow look, this road holds holiday to-day: 

For handed hrethren solemnise a feast 

To richly-dight Demeter, thanking her 

For her good gifts: since with no grudging hand 

Hath the hoon goddess filled the wheaten floors. 

So come: the way, the day, is thine as mine: 

Try we our woodcraft — each may learn from each. 

I am, as thou, a clarion-voice of song; 

All hail me chief of minstrels. But I am not. 

Heaven knows, o'ercredulous: no, I scarce can yet 

(I think) outvie Philetas, nor the hard 

Of Samos, champion of Sicilian song. 

40 



HARVEST-HOME 

They are as cicadas challenged by a frog.'' 

I spake to gain mine ends; and laughing light 
He said: ''Accept this club, as thou 'rt indeed 
A bom truth-teller, shaped by heaven's own hand! 
I hate your builders who would rear a house 
High as Oromedon's mountain-pinnacle: 
I hate your song-birds too, whose cuckoo-cry 
Struggles (in vain) to match the Chian bard. 
But come, we 7/ sing forthwith, Simichidas, 
Our woodland music: and for my part I — 
List, comrade, if you like the simple air 
I forged among the uplands yesterday. 

[Sings^ Safe be my true-love convoyed o'er the main 

To Mitylene — though the southern blast 

Chase the lithe waves, while westward slant the Kids, 

Or low above the verge Orion stand — 

If from Love's furnace she will rescue me. 

For Lycidas is parched with hot desire. 

Let halcyons lay the sea-waves and the winds, 

J^orthwind and fVestwind, that in shores far-off 

Flutters the seaweed — halcyons, of all birds 

fVhose prey is on the waters, held most dear 

By the green J^ereids: yea let all things smile 

On her to Mitylene voyaging, 

41 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL VII 

And in fair harbour may she ride at last. 

I on that day, a chaplet woven of dill 

Or rose or simple violet on my brow, 

JVill draw the wine of Pteleasfrom the cask 

Stretched by the ingle. They shall roast me beans. 

And elbow-deep in thyme and asphodel 

And quaintly -curling parsley shall be piled 

My bed of rushes, where in royal ease 

I sit and, thinking of my darling, drain 

JVith stedfast lip the liquor to the dregs. 

I 'II have a pair of pipers, shepherds both. 

This from Achama,from Lycope that; 

And Tityrus shall be near me and shall sing 

How the swain Daphnis loved the stranger-maid; 

And how he ranged the fells, and how the oaks 

(Such oaks as Himera's banks are green withal) 

Sang dirges o'er him waning fast away 

Like snow on Athos, or on Hcemus high. 

Or Rhodope, or utmost Caucasus. 

And he shall sing me how the big chest held 

(All through the maniac malice of his lord) 

A living goatherd: how the round-faced bees. 

Lured from their meadow by the cedar-smell. 

Fed him with daintiest flowers, because the Muse 

Had made his throat a well-spring of sweet song. 

Happy Comatas, this sweet lot was thine! 

42 



HARVEST-HOME 

Thee the chest prisoned, for thee the honey-bees 
Toiled, as thou slavedst out the mellowing year: 
And oh hadst thou been numbered with the quick 
In my day ! I had led thy pretty goats 
About the hillside , listening to thy voice: 
fVhile thou hadst lain thee down 'neath oak orpine. 
Divine Comatas, warbling pleasantly / ' 

He spake and paused; and thereupon spake I. 
"/ too, friend Lycid, as I ranged the fells. 
Have learned much lore and pleasant from the JVymphs, 
fVhosefame mayhap hath reached the throne of Zeus, 
But this wherewith I'll grace thee ranks the first: 
Thou listen, since the Muses like thee well, 

[jSings'^ On me the young Loves sneezed: for hapless I 

Am fain of Myrto as the goats of Spring. 

But my best friend Aratus inly pines 

For one who loves him not. Aristis saw — 

(A wondrous seer is he, whose lute and lay 

Shrined Apollo* s self would scarce disdain) — 

How love had scorched Aratus to the bone. 

O Pan, who hauntest Homole'sfair champaign. 

Bring the soft charmer, whosoe'er it be, 

Unbid to his sweet arms — so, gracious Pan, 

May ne*er thy ribs and shoulderblades be lashed 

43 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL VII 

JVith squills hy young Arcadians, whensoever 
They are scant of supper! But should this my prayer 
Mislike thee, then on nettles may est thou sleepy 
Dinted and sore all over from their claws I 
Then mayest thou lodge amid Edonian hills 
By HebruSy in midwinter; there subsist^ 
The Bear thy neighbour; and, in summer, range 
JVith the far Mthiops 'neath the Blemmyan rocks 
Where J^ile is no more seen ! But O ye Loves, 
Whose cheeks are like pink apples, quit your homes 
By Hyetis, or Byblis' pleasant rill. 
Or fair Dione's rocky pedestal^ 
And strike that fair one with your arrows, strike 
The ill-starred damsel who disdains my friend. 
And lo, what is she but an o'er-ripe pear? 
The girls all cry « Her bloom is on the wane,'* 
We HI watch, Aratus, at that porch no more, 
Mor waste shoe-leather: let the morning cock 
Crow to wake others up to numb despair! 
Let Molon, and none else, that ordeal brave: 
While we make ease our study, and secure 
Some witch, to charm all evil from our door.'' 

I ceased. He smiling sweetly as before y 
Gave me the staff, < the Muses' parting gift,' 
And leftward sloped toward Pyxa. We the while 

44 



HARVEST-HOME 



Bent us to Phrasydeme'Sy Eucritus and /, 
And baby-faced Amyntas: there we lay 
Half-buried in a couch of fragrant reed 
And fresh-cut vineleaves, who so glad as we? 
A wealth of elm and poplar shook overhead; 
Hard by, a sacred spring flowed gurgling on 
From the JsTymphs' grot, and in the sombre boughs 
The sweet cicada chirped laboriously. 
Hid in the thick thorn-bushes far away 
The treefrog's note was heard; the crested lark 
Sang with the goldfinch; turtles made their moan. 
And o'er the fountain hung the gilded bee. 
All of rich summer smacked, of autumn all: 
Pears at our feet, and apples at our side 
Rolled in luxuriance; branches on the ground 
Sprawled, overweighed with damsons; while we 

brushed 
From the cask's head the crust of four long years. 
Say, ye who dwell upon Parnassian peaks, 
J^ymphs of Castalia, did old Chiron e'er 
Set before Heracles a cup so brave 
In Pholus' cavern — did as nectarous draughts 
Cause that An apian shepherd, in whose hand 
Rocks were as pebbles, Polypheme the strong, 
Featly to foot it o'er the cottage lawns: — 
As, ladies, ye bid flow that day for us 

45 



THEOCRITUS 



IDYLL VII 



All by Demeters shrine at harvest-home? 
Beside whose comstacks may I oft again 
Plant my broad fan: while she stands by and smiles, 
Poppies and comsheaves on each laden arm. 




IDYLL VIII 

THE TRIUMPH OF DAPHNIS 

DAPHNIS MENALCAS 
A GOATHERD 

Daphnis, the gentle herdsman, met once, as legend tells, 
Menalcas making zvith his flock the circle of the fells. 
Both chins were gilt with coming beards: both lads could 

sing and play: 
Menalcas glanced at Daphnis, and thus was heard to say : 
''Art thou for singing, Daphnis, lord of the lowing kine? 
I say my songs are better, by what thou wilt, than thine." 
Then in his turn spake Daphnis, and thus he made reply: 
"O shepherd of the fleecy flock, thoupipest clear and high; 
But come what will, Menalcas, thou ne'er wilt sing 

as ir 

MENALCAS. This art thou fain to ascertain, and risk a 

bet with me? 
DAPHN IS. This I full fain would ascertain, and risk a 

bet with thee. 
MENALCAS. But what, for champions such as we, would 

seem a fitting prize? 
DAPHNIS. I stake a calf: stake thou a lamb, its mother s 

self in size. 

47 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL VIII 

MEN ALc AS. A lamb ril venture never: for aye at close 

of day 
Father and mother count the flock, and passing strict are 

they, 
DAPHN IS. Then what shall he the victor s fee? What 

wager wilt thou lay? 
MENALCAS. A pipe discoursing through nine mouths I 

made, full fair to view; 
The wax is white thereon, the line of this and that edge 

true, 
I'll risk it: risk my father's own is more than I dare do, 
DAPHN I s. ./i pipe discoursing through nine mouths, and 

fair, hath Daphnis too: 
The wax is white thereon, the line of this and that edge 

true. 
But yesterday I made it: this finger feels the pain 
Still, where indeed the rifted reed hath cut it clean in 

twain. 
But who shall he our umpire? who listen to our strain? 
MENALCAS. Supposc wc hail yon goathcrd ; him at 

whose homed herd now 
The dog is harking — yonder dog with white upon his hrow. 
Then out they called: the goatherd marked them, and up 

cam£ he; 
Then out they sang; the goatherd their umpire fain 

would he. 

48 



THE TRIUMPH OF DAPHNIS 

To shrill Menalcas* lot it fell to start the woodland lay: 
Then Daphnis took it up. And thus Menalcas led the way, 

MENALCAS. *' Rivers and vales y a glorious birth! Oh if 

Menalcas e'er 
Piped aught of pleasant music in your ears : 
Then pasture y nothing lothy his lambs; and let young 

Daphnisfare 
J^o worse, should he stray hither with his steers,'* 
DAPHNIS. *< Pastures and rills, a bounteous race! If 

Daphnis sang you e'er 
Such songs as ne'er from nightingale have flowed; 
Then to his herd your fatness lend; and let Menalcas 

share 
Like boon, should e'er he wend along this road." 
MENALCAS. '*'Tis Spring, 'tis greenness everywhere; 

with milk the udders teem. 
And all things that are young have life anew, 
Where my sweet maiden wanders: but parched and 

zvithered seem^ 
When she departethy lawn and shepherd too." 
DAPHNIS. **Fat are the sheep, the goats bear twins, the 

hives are thronged with bees. 
Rises the oak beyond his natural growth. 
Where falls my darling' s footstep : but hungriness shall 

seizcy 

49 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL VIII 

When she departeth, herd and herdsman both.'' 
MENALCAS. ''Come, ram, with thy blunt-muzzled kids 

and sleek wives at thy side, 
Where winds the brook by woodlands myriad-deep: 
There is her haunt. Go, Stump-horn, tell her how Proteus 

plied 
(A god) the shepherd's trade, with seals for sheep.'' 
D A p H N I s. ''I ask not gold, I ask not the broad lands of 

a king; 
I ask not to be fleeter than the breeze; 
But 'neath this steep to watch my sheep, feeding as one, 

andfling 
(Still clasping her) my carol o'er the seas," 
MENALCAS. '^ Stonns are the fruit-tree' s bane; the 

brook's, a summer hot and dry; 
The stag's a woven net, a gin the dove's; 
Manki?id's,asoft sweet maiden. Others have pined ere I: 
Zeus! Father! hadst not thou thy lady-loves? " 

Thus far, in alternating strains, the lads their woes 

rehears t: 
Then each one gave a closing stave. Thus sang Menalcas 

first: 
MENALCAS. ''O Spare, good wolf, my weanlings! their 

milky mothers spare! 
Harm not the little lad that hath so many in his care! 

50 



THE TRIUMPH OF DAPHNIS 

fVhat, Firefly, is thy sleep so deep? It ill hejits a hound, 
Tending a boyish master s flock, to slumber over-sound. 
And, wethers, of this tender grass take, nothing coy, your 

Jill: 
So, when it comes, the after-math shall find you feeding 

still. 
So! so! graze on, that ye be full, that not an udder fail: 
Part of the milk shall rear the lambs, and part shall fill 

my pail.'' 

Then Daphnis flung a carol out, as of a nightingale: 
DAPHNIS. ^^ Me from her grot but yesterday a girl of 

haughty brow 
Spied as I passed her with my kine, and said, 'How fair 

art thou! ' 
I vow that not one bitter word in answer did I say. 
But, looking ever on the ground, went silently my way. 
The heifer's voice, the heifer's breath, are passijig sweet 

to me; 
And sweet is sleep by summer-brooks upon the breezy lea: 
As acorns are the green oak* s pride, apples the apple- 
bough's; 
So the cow glorieth in her calf, the cowherd in his cows." 

Thus the two lads; then spoke the third, sitting his goats 
among: 

51 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL VIII 

GOATHERD. "O Daphtiis, lovely is thy voice, thy music 

sweetly sung; 
Such song is pleasanter to me than honey on my tongue. 
Accept this pipe, for thou hast won. And should there he 

some notes 
That thou couldst teach me, as I plod alongside with my 

goats, 
r II give thee for thy schooling this ewe, that horns hath 

none: 
Day after day she 'II fill the can, until the milk overrun.'' 

Then how the one lad laughed and leaped and clapped 
his hands for glee! 
A kid that hounds to meet its dam might dance as merrily. 
And how the other inly burned, struck down by his 

disgrace! 
A maid first parting from her home might wear as sad a 
face. 

Thenceforth was Daphnis champion of all the country 
side: 
And won, while yet in topmost youth, a J^aiadfor his 
bride. 



IDYLL IX 

PASTORALS 

DAPHNIS MENALCAS A SHEPHERD 

Shepherd. ^ song from Daphnis! Open he the lay, 

He open: and Menalcas follow next: 

While the calves suck, and with the barren kine 

The young hulls graze, or roam knee-deep in leaves, 

And ne'er play truant. But a song from thee, 

Daphnis — anon Menalcas will reply, 

DAPHNIS. Sweet is the chorus of the calves and kine. 

And sweet the herdsman s pipe. But none may vie 
With Daphnis; and a rush-strown bed is 7nine 

J^ear a cool rill, whei'e carpeted I lie 

On fair white goatskins. From a hill-top high 
The westwind swept me down the herd entire. 

Cropping the strawberries: whence it comes that I 
J^o more heed summer, with his breath of fire. 
Than lovers heed the words of mother and of sire. 

Thus Daphnis: and Menalcas answered thus: 
MENALCAS. O Mtna, mother mine I A grotto fair, 

Scooped in the rocks, have I: and there I keep 
All that in dreams men picture ! Treasured there 

53 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL IX 

Are multitudes of she-goats and of sheep. 
Swathed in whose wool from top to toe I sleep. 
The fire that boils my pot, with oak or beech 

Is piled — dry beech-logs when the snow lies deep; 
And storm and sunshine, I disdain them each 
As toothless sires a nut, when broth is in their reach, 

I clapped applause, and straight produced my gifts: 

A staff for Daphnis — 7 was the handiwork 

Of nature, in my father's acres grown: 

Tet might a turner find no fault therewith. 

I gave his mate a goodly spiral-shell: 

We stalked its inmate on the Icarian rocks 

And ate him, parted fivefold among five. 

He blew forthwith the trumpet on his shell. 

Tell, woodland Muse — and then farewell — what song 

I, the chance-comer, sang before those twain. 

SHEPHERD. JsTe'erlet a falsehood scarify my tongue! 

Crickets with crickets, ants with ants agree. 
And hawks with hawks: and music sweetly sung, 

Beyond all else, is grateful unto me. 

Filled aye with music may my dwelling be! 
J^ot slumber, not the bursting forth of Spring 

So charms me, nor the flowers that tempt the bee. 
As those sweet Sisters. He, on whom they fling 
One gracious glance, is proof to Circe* s blandishing. 



IDYLL X 

THE TWO WORKMEN 

MILO BATTUS 

fFhat now, poor overworked drudge, is on thy mind? 

JVb more in even swathe thou lay est the com: 
Thy fellow-reapers leave thee far behind, 

As flocks a ewe that ' s footsore from a thorn. 
By noon and midday what will be thy plight 
If now, so soon, thy sickle fails to bite? 
BATTUS. Hewn from hard rocks, untired at set of sun, 
Milo, didst ne'er regret some absent one? 
MILO. J^ot I. What time have workers for regret? 
BATTUS. Hath love ne'er kept thee from thy slumbers 

yet? 
MILO. JVjy, heaven forbid I If once the cat taste cream I 
BATTUS. Milo, these ten days love hath been my dream, 
MILO. Tou drain your wine, while vinegar *s scarce 

with me. 
BATTUS. — Hence since last spring untrimmed my 

borders be. 
MILO. And what lassfiouts thee? 
BATTUS. She whom we heard play 

Amongst Hippocoon's reapers yesterday. 

55 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL X 

MiLO. Tour sins have found you out — you 're e'en 

served right: 
Tou 'II clasp a corn-crake in your arms all night. 
B ATT us. Tou laugh: but headstrong Love is blind no 

less 
Than Plutus: talking big is foolishness. 
MILO. / talk not big. But lay the corn-ears low 
And trill the while some love-song — easier so 
JVill seem your toil: you used to sing, I know. 
BATTus. Maids of Pieria, of my slim lass sing! 
One touch of yours ennobles everything. 

\^Sings^ Fairy Bombyca! thee do m^n report 
Lean, dusk, a gipsy: I alone nut-brown. 

Violets and pencilled hyacinths are swart , 
Tet first of flowers they We chosen for a crown. 

As goats pursue the clover y wolves the goat. 

And cranes the ploughman y upon thee I dote. 

Had I but Croesus' wealth, we twain should stand 
Gold-sculptured in Love's temple; thou, thy lyre 

(Ay or a rose or apple) in thy hand, 

I in my brave new shoon and dance-attire. 

Fairy Bombyca! twinkling dice thy feet. 

Poppies thy lips, thy ways none knows how sweet! 



56 



THE TWO WORKMEN 

MiLO. fVho dreamed what subtle strains our 
bumpkin wrought? 

How shone the artist in each measured verse! 
Fie on the beard that I have grown for naught! 

Marky lad, these lines by glorious Lytierse. 

[jSingsl^ O rich in fruit and comblade: be this field 
Tilled well, Demeter, and fair fruitage yield! 

Bind the sheaves, reapers: lest one, passing, say — 
" ^fsfo^ ^hese, they 're never worth their pay.'' 

Let the mown swathes look northward, ye who mow. 
Or westward — for the ears grow fattest so. 

Avoid a noontide nap, ye threshing men: 
The chaffflies thickest from the corn-ears then. 

Wake when the lark wakes; when he slumbers, close 
Tour work, ye reapers: and at noontide doze. 

Boys, the frogs' life for me! They need not him 
fVho fills theflagon,for in drink they swim. 

Better boil herbs, thou toiler after gain ^ 

Than, splitting cummin, split thy hand in twain, 

57 



THEOCRITUS 



IDYLL X 



Strains such as these, I trow, hejit them well 
JVho toil and moil when noon is at its height: 

Thy meagre love-tale, bumpkin, thou shouldst tell 
Thy grandam as she wakes up ere 't is light. 




IDYLL XI 

THE GIANT'S WOOING 

Methinks all nature hath no cure for Love, 
Plaster or unguent, Kicias, saving one; 
And this is light and pleasant to a man, 
Tet hard withal to compass — minstrelsy. 
As well thou wottest, being thyself a leech. 
And a prime favourite of those Sisters nine, 
' T was thus our Giant lived a life of ease. 
Old Polyphemus, when, the down scarce seen 
On lip and chin, he wooed his ocean nymph: 
JVb curlypated rose-and-apple wooer. 
But a fell madman, blind to all but love. 
Oft from the green grass foldward fared his sheep 
Unbid: while he upon the windy beach. 
Singing his Galatea, sat and pined 
From dawn to dusk, an ulcer at his heart: 
Great Aphrodite's shaft had fixed it there. 
Tet found he that one cure: he sate him doivn 
On the tall cliff, and seaward looked, and sang: 

''White Galatea, why disdain thy love? 
White as a pressed cheese, delicate as the lamb, 
Wild as the heifer, soft as summer grapes I 

59 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XI 

If sweet sleep chain me, here thou waWst at large; 
If sweet sleep loose me, sti'aightway thou art gone y 
Scared like a sheep that sees the gray wolf near. 
I loved thee, maiden, when thou cam'st long since. 
To pluck the hyacinth-blossom on the fell. 
Thou and my mother, piloted by me. 
I saw thee, see thee still, from that day forth 
For ever; but 't is naught, ay naught, to thee, 
I know, sweet maiden, why thou art so coy: 
Shaggy and huge, a single eyebrow spans 
From ear to ear my forehead, whence one eye 
Gleams, and an overbroad nostril tops my lip. 
Tet I, this monster,feed a thousand sheep 
That yield me sweetest draughts at milking-tide : 
In summer, autumn, or midwinter, still 
Fails not my cheese; my milkpail aye overflows. 
Then I can pipe as ne'er did Giant yet. 
Singing our loves — ours, honey, thine and mine — 
At dead of night: and hinds I rear eleven 
(Each with her fawn) and bearcubs four, for thee. 
Oh come to me — thou shalt not rue the day — 
And let the mad seas beat against the shore! 
'Twere sweet to haunt my cave the livelong night: 
Laurel, and cypress tall, and ivy dun. 
And vines of sumptuous fruitage, all are there: 
And a cold spring that pine-clad Mtna flings 

60 



THE GIANTS WOOING 

Down from the white snow's midst, a draught for 

gods! 
Who would not change for this the ocean-waves? 

« But thou mislik'st my hair? fVell, oaken logs 
Are here, and embers yet aglow with fire. 
Bum (if thou wilt) my heart out, and mine eye. 
Mine only eye wherein is my delight. 
Oh why was I not horn a finny thing, 
Tofloat unto thy side and kiss thy hand, 
Denied thy lips — and bring thee lilies white 
And crimson-pet ailed poppies' dainty bloom! 
JsTay — summer hath hisfiowers and autumn his; 
I could not bring all these the selfsame day. 
Lo, should some mariner hither oar his road, 
Sweet, he shall teach me straightway how to swim. 
That haply I may learn what bliss ye find 
In your sea-homes. O Galatea, come 
Forth from yon waves, and coming forth forget 
(As I do, sitting here) to get thee home: 
And feed my flocks and milk them, nothi?tg loth. 
And pour the rennet in to fix my cheese! 

" The blame '5 my mother's; she is false to me; 
Spake thee ne'er yet one sweet word for my sake. 
Though day by day she sees me pine and pine. 

61 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XI 

/ 'II feign strange throhhings in my head and feet 
To anguish her — as I am anguished now,'* 

O Cyclops, Cyclops, where arefiown thy wits? 
Go plait rush-baskets, lop the olive-boughs 
To feed thy lambkins — 7 were the shrewder part. 
Chase not the recreant, milk the willing ewe : 
The world hath Galateas fairer yet, 

" — Many a fair damsel bids me sport with her 
The livelong night, and smiles if I give ear. 
On land at least I still am somebody,'' 

Thus did the Giant feed his love on song. 
And gained more ease than may be bought with gold. 




IDYLL XII 

THE COMRADES 

Thou art come, lad, come! Scarce thrice hath dusk to-day 

Given place — but lovers in an hour grow gray . 

As spring 's more sweet than winter, grapes than thorns^ 

The ewesjieece richer than her latest-horn's; 

As young girls' charms the thrice-wed wife's outshine, 

As fawns are lither than the ungainly kine. 

Or as the nightingale' s clear notes outvie 

The mingled music of all birds that fly; 

So at thy coming passing glad was L 

I ran to greet thee e'en as pilgrims run 

To beechen shadows from the scorching sun: 

Oh if on us accordant Loves would breathe, 

And our two names to future years bequeath! 

** These twain" — let m^n say — ** lived in olden days. 
This was a yokel (in their country-phrase), 
That was his mate (so talked these simple folk): 
And lovingly they bore a mutual yoke. 
The hearts of men were made of sterling gold, 
fFhen troth met troth, in those brave days of old." 

O Zeus, O gods who age not nor decay! 
Let e'en two hundred ages roll away, 

63 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XII 

But at the last these tidings let me learn. 
Borne o'er the fatal pool whence none return: — 
"5y every tongue thy constancy is sung. 
Thine and thy favourite' s — chiefly by the young/' 
But lo, the future is in heaven's high hand: 
Meanwhile thy graces all my praise demand, 
J^ot false lip-praise, not idly huhbling froth — 
For though thy wrath he kindled, e'en thy wrath 
Hath no sting in it: doubly I am caressed. 
And go my way repaid with interest. 

Oarsmen of Megara, ruled by J^isus erst! 
Tours be all bliss, because ye honoured first 
That true child-lover, Attic Diodes, 
Around his gravestone with the first spring-breeze 
Flock the bairns all, to win the kissing-prize : 
And whoso sweetliest lip to lip applies 
Goes crown-clad home to its mother. Blest is he 
Who in such strife is named the referee: 
To brightfaced Ganymede full oft he 'II cry 
To lend his lip the potencies that lie 
Within that stone with which the usurers 
Detect base metal, and which never errs. 



IDYLL XIII 

HYLAS 

JVotfor us only, J^icias, (vain the dream,) 
Sprung from what god soe'er, was Eros bom: 

J^ot to us only grace doth graceful seem. 

Frail things who wot not of the coming mom. 

J^o — for Amphitryon's iron-hearted son. 

Who braved the lion, was the slave of one: — 

A fair curled creature, Hylas was his name. 

He taught him, as a father might his child. 
All songs whereby himself had risen to fame; 

J^or ever from his side would be beguiled 
When noon was high, nor when white steeds convey 
Back to heaven' s gates the chariot of the day, 

Jfor when the hen's shrill brood becomes aware 
Of bed-time, as the mother's flapping wings 

Shadozv the dust-browned beam, 'Twas all his care 
To shape unto his own imaginings 

And to the harness train his favourite youth. 

Till he became a man in very truth. 

Meanwhile, when kingly Jason steered in quest 
Of the Gold Fleece, and chiej tains at his side 

65 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XIII 

Chosen from all cities, proffering each her best, 

To rich lolchos came that warrior tried. 
And joined him unto trim-built Argo's crew; 
And with Alcmena's son came Hylas too. 

Through the great gulf shot Argo like a bird — 
And by-and-by reached Phasis, ne'er o'erta'en 

By those in-rushing rocks, that have not stirred 
Since then, but bask, twin monsters, on the main. 

But now, when waned the spring, and lambs were fed 

In far-off fields, and Pleiads gleamed overhead. 

That cream and flower of knighthood looked to sail. 
They came, within broad Argo safely stowed, 

(fFhenfor three days had blown the southern gale) 
To Hellespont, and in Propontis rode 

At anchor, where Cianian oxen now 

Broaden the furrows with the busy plough 

They leapt ashore, and, keeping rank, prepared 
Their evening meal: a grassy meadow spread 

Before their eyes, and many a warrior shared 
(Thanks to its verdurous stores) one lowly bed. 

And while they cut tall marigolds from their stem 

And sworded bulrush, Hylas sliptfrom them, 

66 



HYLAS 

Water the fair lad went to seek and bring 
To Heracles and stalwart Telamon, 

(The comrades aye partook each other's fare,) 
Bearing a brazen pitcher. And anon, 

JVhere the ground dipt, a fountain he espied. 

And rushes growing green about its side. 

There rose the sea-blue swallow-wort, and there 
The pale-hued maidenhair, with parsley green 

And vagrant marsh-flowers; and a revel rare 
In the pool's midst the water-nymphs were seen 

To hold, those maidens of unslumbrous eyes 

tVhom the belated peasant sees and flies. 

And fast did Malis and Eunica cling, 
And young J^ychea with her April face. 

To the lad's hand, as stooping o'er the spring 
He dipt his pitcher. For the young Greek' s grace 

Made their soft senses reel; and down he fell. 

All of a sudden, into that black well. 

So drops a red star suddenly from sky 

To sea — and quoth some sailor to his mate: 

<* Up with the tackle, boy I the breeze is high.'* 
Him the nymphs pillowed, all disconsolate ^ 
er 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XIII 

Chosen from all cities, proffering each her best, 

To rich lolchos came that warrior tried. 
And joined him unto trim-built Argo's crew; 
And with Alcmena's soil came Hylas too. 

Through the great gulf shot Argo like a bird — 
And by-and'by reached Phasis, ne'er o'erta'en 

By those in-rushing rocks, that have not stirred 
Since then, but bask, twin monsters, on the main. 

But now, when waned the spring, and lambs were fed 

In far-off fields, and Pleiads gleamed overhead. 

That cream and flower of knighthood looked to sail. 

They came, within broad Argo safely stowed, 
(When for three days had blown the southern gale) 

To Hellespont, and in Propontis rode 
At anchor, where Cianian oxen now 
Broaden the furrows with the busy plough. 

They leapt ashore, and, keeping rank, prepared 
Their evening meal: a grassy meadow spread 

Before their eyes, and many a warrior shared 
(Thanks to its verdurous stores) one lowly bed. 

And while they cut tall marigolds from their stem 

And sworded bulrush, Hylas sliptfrom them. 

66 



HYLAS 

Water the fair lad went to seek and bring 
To Heracles and stalwart Telamon, 

(The comrades aye partook each other's fare,) 
Bearing a brazen pitcher. And anon. 

Where the ground dipt, a fountain he espied, 

And rushes growing green about its side. 

There rose the sea-blue swallow-wort, and there 
The pale-hued maidenhair, with parsley green 

And vagrant marsh-flowers; and a revel rare 
In the pool's midst the water-nymphs were seen 

To hold, those maidens of unslumbrous eyes 

Whom the belated peasant sees and flies. 

And fast did Malis and Eunica cling. 
And young J^ychea with her April face. 

To the lad's hand, as stooping o'er the spring 
He dipt his pitcher. For the young Greek's grace 

Made their soft senses reel; and down he fell. 

All of a sudden, into that black well. 

So drops a red star suddenly from sky 

To sea — and quoth some sailor to his mate: 

<* Up zvith the tackle, boy ! the breeze is high.'* 
Him the nymphs pillowed, all disconsolate, 

67 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XIII 

On their sweet laps, and with soft words beguiled; 
But Heracles was troubled for the child. 

Forth went he; Scythian-wise his bow he bore 
And the great club that never quits his side; 

And thrice called *< Hylas'' — ne'er came lustier roar 
From that deep chest. Thrice Hylas heard and tried 

To answer, but in tones you scarce might hear; 

The water made them distant though so near. 

And as a lion, when he hears the bleat 

Of fawns aynong the mountains far away, 

A murderous lion, and with hurrying feet 
Bounds from his lair to his predestined prey : 

So plunged the strong man in the untrodden brake — 

(Lovers are maniacs) — for his darling's sake. 

He scoured far fields — what hill or oaken glen 
Remembers not that pilgrimage of pain? 

His troth to Jason was forgotten then. 

Long time the good ship tarried for those twain 

With hoisted sails; night came and still they cleared 

The hatches, but no Heracles appeared. 

On he was wandering, reckless where he trod. 
So mad a passion on his vitals preyed: 

68 



HYLAS 

While Hylas had become a blessed god. 

But the crew cursed the runaway who had stayed 
Sixty good oars, and left him there to reach 
Afoot bleak Phasis and the Colchian beach. 




IDYLL XIV 

THE LOVE OF i^SCHINES 

THYONICHUS ^SCHINES 

i^^scHiNES. Hail, sir Thyonichus. 

THYONICHUS. Mschincs, to you, 

^scHiNES./ have missed thee, 

THYONICHUS. Missedme! Why what ails him now? 

iESCHiNES. Myfriendy I am ill at ease. 

THYONICHUS. Then this explains 

Thy leanness, and thy prodigal moustache 

And dried-up curls. Thy counterpart I saw, 

A wan Pythagorean, yesterday . 

He said he came from Athens: shoes he had none: 

He pined, I 'II warrant, — for a quartern loaf, 

iES CHINES. Sir, you will joke — But Vve been outraged 

sore. 
And by Cynisca, I shall go stark mad 
Ere you suspect — a hair would turn the scale, 
THYONICHUS. Such thou wcrt always, JEs chines my 

friend. 
In lazy mood or trenchant, at thy whim 
The world must wag. But what 's thy grievance now ? 
iESCHiNES. That Argive, Apis the Thessalian Knight ^ 

70 



THE LOVE OF i^SCHINES 

Myself, and gallant Cleonicus, supped 

fVithin my grounds. Two pullets I had slain , 

And a prime pig: and broached my Bihlian wine; 

'T was four years old, but fragrant as when new. 

Truffles were served to us: and the drink was good. 

IVelly we got on, and each must drain a cup 

To whom he fancied; only each must name. 

We named, and took our liquor as ordained; 

But she sate silent — this before my face. 

Fancy my feelings! ''Wilt not speak? Hast seen 

A wolf? " some wag said. ''Shrewdly guessed,*' quoth 

she, 
And blushed — her blushes might have fired a torch. 
A wolf had charmed her: Wolf her neighbour' s son. 
Goodly and tall, and fair in divers eyes: 
For his illustrious sake it was she pined. 
This had been breathed, just idly, in my ear: 
Shame on my beard, I ne' er pursued the hint. 
Well, when we four were deep amid our cups. 
The Knight must sing " The Wolf (a local song) 
Right through for mischief All at once she wept 
Hot tears as girls of six years old might zveep. 
Clinging and clamouring round their mother's lap. 
And I, (you know my humour, friend of mine,) 
Drove at his face, one, two! She gathered up 
Her robes and vanished straightway through the door. 

71 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XIV 

"And so I fail to please, false lady mine? 
Another lies more welcome in thy lap ? 
Go warm that other's heart: he 'II say thy tears 
Are liquid pearls.'' And as a swallow fiies 
Forth in a hurry y here or there to find 
A mouthful for her brood among the eaves: 
From her soft sofa passing-swift she fled 
Through folding-doors and hall, with random feet: 
^'The stag had gained his heath" : you know the rest. 
Three weeks, a month, nine days and ten to that. 
To-day 's the eleventh: and 't is just two months 
All but two days, since she and I were two. 
Hence is my beard of more than Thracian growth. 
JsTow Wolf is all to her: fVolf enters in 
At midnight; I am a cypher in her eyes; 
The poor Megarian, nowhere in the race. 
All would go right, if I could once unlove: 
But now y you wot, the rat hath tasted tar. 
And what may cure a swain at his wits' end 
I know not: Simus, (true,) a mate of mine. 
Loved Epichalcus' daughter, and took ship 
And came home cured. I too will sail the seas. 
IVorse men, it may be better, are afloat, 
I shall still prove an average man-at-arms. 
THYONicHus. J^ow may thy love run smoothly, 
JEschines! 

72 



THE LOVE OF ^SCHINES 

But should' St thou really mean a voyage out. 

The freeman' s best paymaster's Ptolemy, 

iESCHiNES. JVhat is he else? 

THYONICHUS. A gentleman: a man 

Of wit and taste; the top of company; 

Loyal to ladies; one whose eye is keen 

For friends, and keener still for enemies. 

Large in his bounties , hey in kingly sort. 

Denies a boon to none: but, JEschines, 

One should not ask too often. This premised^ 

If thou wilt clasp the military cloak 

O'er thy right shoulder, and zvith legs astride 

Await the onward rush of shielded men: 

Hie thee to Egypt. Age o'ertakes us all; 

Our temples first; then on o'er cheek and chin. 

Slowly and surely, creep the frosts of Time . 

Up and do somewhat^ ere thy limbs are sere. 




IDYLL XV 

THE FESTIVAL OF ADONIS 

GORGO PRAXINOX 

GoRGO. Praxinoain? 

PRAXiNOA. Tes, Gorgo dear! At last! 

That you We here now 's a marvel! See to a chair, 

A cushion^ Eunod! 

GORGO. / lack naught. 

PRAXINOA. Sit down. 

GORGO. Oh, what a thing is spirit! Here I am, 

Praxinod, safe at last from all that crowd 

And all those chariots — every street a mass 

Of hoots and uniforms! And the road, my dear. 

Seemed endless — you live now so far away! 

PRAXINOA. This land's-end den — I cannot call it 

house — 
My madcap hired to keep us twain apart 
And stir up strife. 'Twas like him, odious pest! 
GORGO. Jfay call not, dear, your lord, your Deinon, 

names 
To the babe's face. Look how it stares at you! 
There, baby dear, she never meant Papa! 
It understands, by V lady! Dear Papa! 

74 



THE FESTIVAL OF ADONIS 

PRAXiNOA. JVell, yesterday (that means what day you 

like) 
*'Papa " had rouge and hair-powder to buy; 
He brought back salt! this oaf of six-foot-one ! 
GORGo. Just such another is that pickpocket 
My Diocleides. He bought V other day 
Six fleeces at seven drachms, his last exploit, 
fVhat were they? scraps of worn-out pedlar' s-bags, 
Sheer trash. — But put your cloak and mantle on; 
And we 7/ to Ptolemy's, the sumptuous king. 
To see the Adonis. As I hear, the queen 
Provides us something gorgeous. 
PRAXINOA. Ay, the grand 

Can do things grandly. 

GORGO. When you 've seen yourself, 

fVhat tales you 7/ have to tell to those who *ve not. 
'Twere time we started! 
PRAXINOA. All time 's holiday 

fVith idlers ! Eunod, pampered minx, the jug! 
Set it down here — you cats would sleep all day 
On cushions — Stir yourself , fetch water, quick! 
Water's our first want. How she holds the jug! 
J^ow,pour — not, cormorant, in that wasteful way — 
Tou 've drenched my dress, bad luck V you! There, 

enough: 
I have made such toilet as my fates allowed. 

75 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XV 

Mow for the key o' the plate-chest. Bring it, quick! 
GORGO. My deary that full pelisse becomes you well. 
fVhat did it stand you in, straight off the loom? 
PRAXiNOA. Don't ask me, Gorgo: two good pounds 

and more. 
Then I gave all my mind to trimming it. 
GORGO. fVelly 't is a great success. 
PRAXINOA. I think it is. 

My mantle, Eunod, and my parasol! 
Arrange me nicely. Babe, you HI bide at home! 
Horses would bite you — Boo ! — Tes, cry your filly 
But we won't have you maimed. JSTow let's be off. 
Tou, Phrygia, take and nurse the tiny thing: 
Call the dog in: make fast the outer door! 

[Exeunt. 
Gods! what a crowd! How, when shall we get past 
This nuisance, these unending ant-like swarms? 
Tet, Ptolemy, we owe thee thanks for much 
Since heaven received thy sire! J^o miscreant now 
Creeps Thug-like up, to maul the passer-by. 
What games men played erewhile — men shaped in 

crime, 
Birds of a feather, rascals every one! 
— We're done for, Gorgo darling — here they are. 
The Royal horse! Sweet sir, don't tra?nple me! 
That bay — the savage! — reared up straight on end! 

76 



THE FESTIVAL OF ADONIS 

F/y, Eunod, can't you? Doggedly she stands. 
He 7/ be his rider's death! — How glad I am 
My babe 's at home. 

G o R G o. Praxino'd, never mind! 

See, we We before them now, and they 're in line. 
PRAXi NO A. There, I 'm myself. But from a child I 

feared 
Horses, and slimy snakes. But haste we on: 
A surging multitude is close behind. 
GORGO [to Old Lady^. From the palace, mother? 
OLD LADY. Ay, child. 

GORGO. Is it fair 

Of access? 

OLD LADY. Trying brought the Greeks to Troy. 
Toung ladies, they must try who would succeed. 
GORGO. The crone hath said her oracle and gone. 
Women know all — how Adam married Eve. 
— Praxinod, look what crowds are round the door! 
PRAXI NO A. Fearful! Tour hand, please, Gorgo. 

Eunod, you 
Hold Eutychis — hold tight or you 'II be lost. 
We 'II enter in a body — hold us fast! 
Oh dear, my muslin dress is torn in two, 
Gorgo, already ! Pray, good gentleman, 
(And happiness be yours) respect my robe! 
STRANGER. I could not if I would — nathless I will. 

77 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XV 

PRAXiNOA. They come in hundreds y and they push like 

swine. 
STRANGER. Lddy^ take courage: it is all well now, 
PRAXINOA. And now and ever be it well with thee. 
Sweet man, for shielding us! An honest soul 
And kindly. Oh! they We smothering Eunod: 
Push, coward! That 's right! ^^All in,'' the bridegroom 

said. 
And locked the door upon himself and bride. 
GORGO. Praxinod, look! J^ote well this broidery first. 
How exquisitely fine — too good for earth! 
Empress Athene, what strange sempstress wrought 
Such work? What painter painted, realized 
Such pictures? Just like life they stand or move. 
Facts and not fancies! What a thing is man! 
How bright, how lifelike on his silvern couch 
Lies, with youth's bloom scarce shadowing his cheek, 
That dear Adonis, lovely e'en in death! 
A STRANGER. Bad luck f you, cease your senseless 

pigeon' s prate ! 
Their brogue is killing — every word a drawl! 
GORGO. Where did he spring from? Is our prattle aught 
To you, Sir? Order your own slaves about: 
Tou 're ordering Syracusan ladies now! 
Corinthiajis bred (to tell you one fact more) 
As was Bellerophon: islanders ifi speech, 

7B 



THE FESTIVAL OF ADONIS 

For Dorians may talk Doric, I presume? 
PRAXiNOA. Persephone! none lords it over me. 
Save one! JVb scullion' s-w age for us from you! 
GORGO. Hush, dear. The Argives daughter' s going to 

sing 
The Adonis: that accomplished vocalist 
fVho has no rival in " The Sailor's Grave," 
Observe her attitudinizing now. 

[_Songr\ Queen, who lov'st Golgi and the Sicel hill 

And Ida; Aphrodite radiant-eyed; 
The stealthy-footed Hours from Acheron's rill 

Brought once again Adonis to thy side 
How changed in twelve short months! They travel 
slow. 

Those precious Hours: we hail their advent still. 
For blessings do they bring to all below. 

O Sea-born ! thou didst erst, or legend lies. 
Shed on a woman's soul thy grace benign. 

And Berenice's dust immortalize. 
O called by many names, at many a shrine! 

For thy sweet sake doth Berenice's child 
(Herself a second Helen) deck with all 

That's fair, Adonis. On his right are piled 
Ripe apples fallen from the oak-tree tall; 

And silver caskets at his left support 

79 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XV 

Toy-gardens, Syrian scents enshrined in gold 

And alabaster, cakes of every sort 
That in their ovens the pastrywomen mould. 

When with white meal they mix all flowers that 
bloom, 
OiUcakes and honey-cakes. There stand portrayed 

Each bird, each butterfly; and in the gloom 
Of foliage climbing high, and downward weighed 

By graceful blossoms, do the young Loves play 
Like nightingales, and perch on every tree. 

And flit, to try their wings, from spray to spray. 
Then see the gold, the ebony! Only see 

The ivory-carven eagles, bearing up 

To Zeus the boy who fills his royal cup! 
Soft as a dream, such tapestry gleams overhead 

As the Milesian's self would gaze on, charmed. 
But sweet Adonis hath his own sweet bed: 

J^ext Aphrodite sleeps the roseate-armed, 
A bridegroom of eighteen or nineteen years. 

Kiss the smooth boyish lip — there 's no sting there! 
The bride hath found her own: all bliss be hers! 

And him at dewy dawn we *ll troop to bear 
Down where the breakers hiss against the shore: 

There, with dishevelled dress and unbound hair, 
Bare-bosomed all, our descant wild we * II pour: 



80 



THE FESTIVAL OF ADONIS 

*'Thou haunt' St, Adonis, earth and heaven in turn. 

Alone of heroes, Agamemnon ne'er 
Could compass this, nor Aias stout and stem: 

Jfot Hector, eldest-bom of her who bare 
Ten sons, not Patrocles, nor safe-retumed 
From Ilion Pyrrhus, such distinction eamed: 

J^or, elder yet, the Lapithce, the sons 
Of Pelops and Deucalion; or the crown 

Of Greece, Pelasgians, Gracious may*st thou be, 
Adonis, now: pour ?iew-y ear's blessings down! 

Right welcome dost thou come, Adonis dear: 

Come when thou wilt, thou' It find a welcome here." 

GORGo. 'T is fine, Praxinod! How I envy her 
Her learning, and still more her luscious voice! 
We must go home: my husband's supperless: 
And, in that state, the man 's just vinegar. 
Don't cross his path when hungry! So farewell, 
Adonis, and be housed' jnid welfare aye! 




IDYLL XVI 

THE VALUE OF SONG 

What fires the Muse's, what the minstreVs lays? 
Hers some immortaVs, ours some hero's praise , 
Heaven is her theme, as heavenly was her birth: 
fFe, of earth earthy, sing the sons of earth. 
Tet who, of all that see the gray mom rise. 
Lifts not his latch and hails with eager eyes 
My Songs, yet sends them guerdonless away? 
Barefoot and angry homeward journey they. 
Taunt him who sent them on that idle quest. 
Then crouch them deep within their empty chest, 
(When w ageless they return, their dismal bed) 
And hide on their chill knees once more their patient 

head. 
Where are those good old times ? Who thanks us, who. 
For our good word? Men list not now to do 
Great deeds and worthy of the minstreVs verse: 
Vassals of gain, their hand is on their purse. 
Their eyes on lucre: ne'er a rusty nail 
They 'II give in kindness; this being aye their tale: 
'*Kin before kith; to prosper is my prayer; 
Poets, we know, are heaven' s peculiar care. 

82 



THE VALUE OF SONG 

We 've Homer; and what other's worth a thought? 
I call him chief of bards who costs me naught,'* 

Tet what if all your chests with gold are lined? 
Is this enjoying wealth? Ohfools and blind! 
Part on your heart's desire, on minstrels spend 
Part; and your kindred and your kind befriend: 
And daily to the gods bid altar-fires ascend, 
JVor be ye churlish hosts, but glad the heart 
Of guests with wine, when they must needs depart: 
And reverence most the priests of sacred song: 
So, when hell hides you, shall your names live long; 
J^ot doomed to wail on Acheron's sunless sands. 
Like some poor hind, the inward of whose hands 
The spade hath gnarled and knotted, bom to groan. 
Poor sire' s poor offspring, hapless Penury's own! 

Their monthly dole erewhile unnumbered thralls 
Sought in Antiochus', in Aleuas' halls; 
On to the Scopada's byres in endless line 
The calves ran lowing with the horned kine; 
And, marshalled by the good Creondce's swains 
Myriads of choice sheep basked on Crannon's plains, 
Tet had their joyaunce ended, on the day 
When their sweet spirit dispossessed its clay. 
To hated Acheron' s ample barge resigned, 

83 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XVI 

J^ameless, their stored-up luxury left hehindy 
With the lorn dead through ages had they lain. 
Had not a minstrel bade them live again : — 
Had not in woven words the Ce'ian sire 
Holding sweet converse with his full-toned lyre 
Made even their swift steeds for aye renowned. 
When from the sacred lists they came home crowned. 
Forgot were Lycia's chiefs, and Hector's hair 
Of gold, and Cycnus femininely fair; 
But that hards bring old battles back to mind. 
Odysseus — he who roamed amongst mankind 
A hundred years and more, reached utmost hell 
Alive, and 'scaped the giant's hideous cell — 
Had lived a?id died: Eumceus and his swine; 
Philcetius, busy with his herded kine; 
And great Laertes' self, had passed away. 
Were not their names preserved in Homer's lay. 
Through song alone may man true glory taste; 
The dead man's riches his survivors waste. 

But count the waves, with yon gray wind-swept 
main 
Borne shoreward: from a red brick wash his stain 
In some pool's violet depths: 't will task thee yet 
To reach the heart on baleful avarice set. 
To such I say ''Fare well" : let theirs be store 

84 



THE VALUE OF SONG 

Of wealth; hut let them always crave for more : 
Horses and mules inferior things I find 
To the esteem and love of all mankind. 

But to what mortal's roof may I repair y 
I and my Muse, and find a welcome there? 
I and my Muse: for minstrels fare hut ill, 
Reft of those maids, who know the mightiest' s will. 
The cycle of the years, it flags not yet; 
In many a chariot many a steed shall sweat: 
And one, to manhood grown, my lays shall claim, 
fVhose deeds shall rival great Achilles' fame, 
Who from stout Aias might have won the prize 
On Simois' plain, where Phrygian Ilus lies. 
J^ow, in their sunset home on Lihya's heel, 
Phoenicia's sons unwonted chillnessfeel: 
Mow, with his targe of willow at his hreast. 
The Syracusan hears his spear in rest. 
Amongst these Hiero arms him for the war. 
Eager to fight as warriors fought of yore; 
The plumes float darkling o'er his helmed hrozv. 
O Zeus, the sire most glorious ; and O thou, 
Empress Athene; and thou, damsel fair. 
Who with thy mother wast decreed to hear 
Rule o'er rich Corinth, o'er that city of pride 
Beside whose walls Anapus' waters glide: — 

85 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XVI 

May ill winds waft across the Southern sea 
(Of late a legion, now hut two or three,) 
Far from our isle, our foes; the doom to tell. 
To wife and child, of those they loved so well; 
While the old race enjoy once more the lands 
Spoiled and insulted erst by alien hands! 

And fair and fruitful may their comlands he! 
Their flocks in thousands Meat upon the lea. 
Fat and full-fed; their kine, as home they wind. 
The lagging traveller of his rest remind! 
With might and main their fallows let them till: 
Till comes the seedtime, and cicalas trill 
(Hid from the toilers of the hot midday 
In the thick leafage) on the topmost spray! 
O'er shield and spear their wehs let spiders spin. 
And none so much as name the hattle-din! 
Then Hiero's lofty deeds may minstrels hear 
Beyond the Scythian ocean-main, and where 
Within those ample walls, with asphalt made 
Time-proof, Semiramis her empire swayed. 
I am hut a single voice; hut many a hard 
Beside me do those heavenly maids regard: 
May those all love to sing, 'mid earth's acclaim. 
Of Sicel Arethuse, and Hiero'sfame, 



86 



THE VALUE OF SONG 

O Graces, royal nurselings, who hold dear 
The Minyce's city, once the Theban'sfear: 
Unbidden I tarry, whither bidden I fare 
My Muse my comrade. And be ye too there. 
Sisters divine! Were ye and song forgot, 
fVhat grace had earth? fVithyou be aye my lot! 




THEOCRITUS IDYLL XVII 

O Aphrodit^y matchless e'en in heaven 
For beauty y thou didst love her; wouldst not let 
Thy Berenice cross the wailful waves: 
But thy hand snatched her — to the blue lake bound 
Else, and the dead's grim ferry man — and en- 
shrined 
JVith thee, to share thy honours. There she sits. 
To mortals ever kind, and passion soft 
Inspires, and makes the lover s burden light. 
The dark-browed Argive, linked with Tydeus, bare 
Diomed the slayer,famed in Calydon: 
And deep-veiled Thetis unto Peleus gave 
The javelineer Achilles. Thou wast bom 
Of Berenice, Ptolemy by name 
And by descent, a warrior's warrior child, 
Cos from its mother's arms her babe received. 
Its destined nursery, on its natal day: 
'T was there Antigone's daughter in her pangs 
Cried to the goddess that could bid them cease: 
Who soon was at her side, and lo! her limbs 
Forgat their anguish, and a child was bom 
Fair, its sire's self. Cos saw, and shouted loud; 
Handled the babe all tenderly, and spake: 

''Wake, babe, to bliss: prize me, as Phcebus doth 
His azure-sphered Delos: grace the hill 

90 



THE PRAISE OF PTOLEMY 

Of Triops, and the Dorians' sister shores. 
As king Apollo his Rhencea's isle,'' 

So spake the isle. An eagle high overhead 
Poised in the clouds screamed thrice, the prophet-bird 
Of Zeus y and sent by him. For awful kings 
All are his care, those chiefliest on whose birth 
He smiled: exceeding glory waits on them: 
Theirs is the sovereignty of land and sea. 
But if a myriad realms spread far and wide 
O'er earth, if myriad nations till the soil 
To which heaven's rain gives increase: yet what land 
Is green as low-lying Egypt, when the J^ile 
Wells forth and piecemeal breaks the sodden glebed 
Where are like cities, peopled by like men? 
Lo he hath seen three hundred towns arise. 
Three thousand, yea three myriad; and o'er all 
He rules, the prince of heroes, Ptolemy, 
Claims half Phoenicia, and halfAraby, 
Syria and Libya, and the JEthiops murk; 
Sways the Pamphylian and Cilician braves. 
The Lycian and the Carian trained to war. 
And all the isles: for never fleet like his 
Rode upon ocean: land and sea alike 
And sounding rivers hail king Ptolemy, 
Many are his horsemen, many his targeteers, 

91 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XVII 

Whose burdened breast is bright with clashing steel: 

Light are all royal treasuries, weighed with his. 

For wealth from all climes travels day by day 

To his rich realm, a hive of prosperous peace, 

J^ofoeman's tramp scares monster-peopled Jfile, 

Waking to war her far-off villages : 

J^o armed robber from his war-ship leaps 

To spoil the herds of Egypt, Such a prince 

Sits throned in her broad plains, in whose right arm 

Quivers the spear, the bright-haired Ptolemy. 

Like a true king, he guards with might and main 

The wealth his sires' arm won him and his own. 

J^or strown all idly o'er his sumptuous halls 

Lie piles that seem the work of labouring ants. 

The holy homes of gods are rich therewith; 

Theirs are thefirstfruits, earnest aye of more. 

And freely mighty kings thereof partake. 

Freely great cities, freely honoured friends. 

Jfone entered e'er the sacred lists of song. 

Whose lips could breathe sweet music, but he gained 

Fair guerdon at the hand of Ptolemy. 

And Ptolemy do music's votaries hymn 

For his good gifts — hath man a fairer lot 

Than to have earned much fame among mankind? 

The Atridce's name abides, while all the wealth 

Won from the sack of Priam's stately home 

92 



THE PRAISE OF PTOLEMY 

A mist closed o'er ity to be seen no more. 
Ptolemy y he only, treads a path whose dust 
Bums with the footprints of his ancestors y 
And overlays those footprints with his own. 
He raised rich shrines to mother and to sire. 
There reared their forms in ivory and gold. 
Passing in beauty, to befriend mankind. 
Thighs of fat oxen oftentimes he bums 
On crimsoning altars, as the months roll on. 
Ay he and his staunch wife. J^o fairer bride 
E'er clasped her lord in royal palaces: 
And her heart's love her brother-husband won. 
In such blest union joined the immortal pair 
Whom queenly Rhea bore, and heaven obeys: 
One couch the maiden of the rainbow decks 
With myrrh-dipt hands for Hera and for Zeus. 

J^ow farewell, prince! I rank thee aye with gods. 
And read this lesson to the afterdays. 
Mayhap they 'II prize it: 'Honour is of Zeus.' 




IDYLL XV III 

THE BRIDAL OF HELEN 

fVhilomy in Lacedamon, 

Tript many a maiden fair 
To gold-tressed Menelaus' hallsy 

With hyacinths in her hair: 
Twelve to the Painted Chamber^ 

The queenliest in the land. 
The clustered loveliness of Greece , 

Came dancing hand in hand. 
For Helen, Tyndarus' daughter. 

Had just been wooed and won, 
Helen the darling of the world. 

By Atreus' younger son: 
JVith woven steps they beat the floor 

In unison, and sang 
Their bridal-hymn of triumph 

Till all the palace rang. 

^* Slumberest so soon, sweet bridegroom? 

Art thou o'erfond of sleep? 
Or hast thou leadenweighted limbs? 

Or hadst thou drunk too deep 
When thou didst fling thee to thy lair? 

Betimes thou should' st have sped, 

94 



THE BRIDAL OF HELEN 

If sleep were all thy purpose. 

Unto thy bachelor's bed: 
And left her in her mother s arms 

To nestle, and to play 
A girl among her girlish mates 

Till deep into the day: — 
For not alone for this night, 

J^orfor the next alone. 
But through the days and through the years 

Thou hast her for thine own. 

*'J^ay! heaven, O happy bridegroom. 

Smiled as thou enteredst in 
To Sparta, like thy brother kings, 

And told thee thou should' st win! 
What hero son-in-law of Zeus 

Hath e'er aspired to be? 
Tet lo! one coverlet enfolds 

The child of Zeus, and thee. 
JsTe'er did a thing so lovely 

Roam the Achaian lea. 

'*And who shall match her offspring. 

If babes are like their mother? 
For we were playmates once, and ran 

And raced with one another 

95 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XVIII 

(All varnished^ warrior fashion) 

Along Eurotas' tide. 
Thrice eighty gentle maidens. 

Each in her girlhood' s pride : 
Tet none of all seemed faultless^ 

If placed by Helen's side. 

** As peers the nascent Morning 
Over thy shades, O J^ight, 

fVhen Winter disenchains the land. 
And Spring goes forth in white: 

So Helen shone above us. 
All loveliness and light. 

*'As climbs aloft some cypress. 
Garden or glade to grace; 

As the Thessalian courser lends 
A lustre to the race: 

So bright o'er Lacedcemon 
Shone Helen's rosebud face. 

'^And who into the basket e'er 
The yam so deftly drew. 

Or through the mazes of the web 
So well the shuttle threw. 

And severed from the framework 
As closely wov'n a warp: — 

96 



THE BRIDAL OF HELEN 

And who could wake with masterhand 

Such music from the harp. 
To broad-limbed Pallas tuning 

And Artemis her lay — 
As Helen, Helen in whose eyes 

The Loves forever play ? 

" O bright, O beautiful,for thee 

Are matron-cares begun. 
We to green paths and blossomed meads 

With dawn of mom must run. 
And cull a breathing chaplet; 

And still our dream shall be, 
Helen, of thee, as weanling lambs 

Team in the pasture for the dams 
That nursed their infancy. 

**For thee the lowly lotus-bed 

We 'II spoil, and plait a crown 
To hang upon the shadowy plane ; 

For thee will we drop down 
('JV^eath that same shadowy platan ) 

Oil from our silver urn; 
And carven on the bark shall be 

This sentence, ^hallow Helen's tree '; 
In Dorian letters, legibly 

For all men to discern. 
97 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XVIII 

''J^ow farewell, bride, and bridegroom 

Blest in thy new-found sire! 
May LetOy mother of the brave. 

Bring babes at your desire. 
And holy Cypris either' s breast 

JVith mutual transport fire: 
And Zeus the son of Cronos 

Grant blessings without end. 
From princely sire to princely son 

For ever to descend. 

'^ Sleep on, and love and longing 

Breathe in each other's breast; 
But fail not when the mom returns 

To rouse you from your rest: 
fVith dawn shall we be stirring. 

When, lifting high his fair 
And feathered neck, the earliest bird 

To clarion to the dawn is heard. 
O god of brides and bridals. 
Sing ' Happy, happy pair! ' " 




IDYLL XIX 

LOVE STEALING HONEY 

Once thievish Love the honeyed hives would rob, 
fVhen a hee stung him: soon he felt a throb 
Through all his finger-tips, and, wild with pain. 
Blew on his hands and stamped and jumped in vain. 
To Aphrodite then he told his woe: 
^'How can a thing so tiny hurt one so?'' 
She smiled and said: ''Why, thou Wt a tiny thing. 
As is the bee; yet sorely thou canst sting.'' 




IDTLL XXI 

THE FISHERMEN 

ASPHALION A COMRADE 

fVant quickens wit: fVanfs pupils needs must work, 

O Diophantusifor the child of toil 

Is grudged his very sleep by carking cares: 

Or, if he taste the blessedness of night. 

Thought for the morrow soon warns slumber off. 

Two ancient fishers once lay side by side 
On piled-up sea-wrack in their wattled hut. 
Its leafy wall their curtain. J^ear them lay 
The weapons of their trade, basket and rod, 
Hooks, weed-encumbered nets, and cords and oars. 
And, propped on rollers, an infirm old boat. 
Their pillow was a scanty mat, eked out 
With caps and garments: such the ways and m£ans. 
Such the whole treasury of the fishermen. 
They knew no luxuries: owned nor door nor dog; 
Their craft their all, their mistress Poverty: 
Their only neighbour Ocean, who for aye 
Round their lorn hut came floating lazily, 

102 



THE FISHERMEN 

Ere the moon's chariot was in mid-career. 
The fishers girt them for their customed toil. 
And banished slumber from unwilling eyes, 
And roused their dreamy intellects with speech: 

ASPHALioN. ''They say that soon flit summer-nights 

away. 
Because all lingering is the summer day: 
Friend, it is false; for dream on dream have I 
Dreamed, and the dawn still reddens not the sky. 
How? am I wandering? or does night pass slow?'* 
HIS COMRADE. ''Asphalion, scout not the sweet 

summer so. 
'Tis not that wilful seasons have gone wrong. 
But care maims slumber, and the nights seem long'* 
ASPHALION. ''Didst thou e'er study dreams? For 

visions fair 
I saw last night; and fairly thou should' st share 
The wealth I dreain of, as the fish I catch, 
J^ow,for sheer sense, I reckon few thy match; 
And, for a vision, he whose motherwit 
Is his sole tutor best interprets it. 
And now we 've time the matter to discuss: 
For who could labour, lying here (like us) 
Pillowed on leaves and neighboured by the deep. 
Or sleeping amid thorns no easy sleep? 

103 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXI 

In rich men's halls the lamps are burning yet; 
But fish come alway to the rich man's net.'' 
COMRADE. '*To me the vision of the night relate; 
Speak, and reveal the riddle to thy mate." 
ASPHALioN. **Last evening, as I plied my watery 

trade, 
(JV^ot on an o'erfull stomach — we had made 
Betimes a meagre meal, as you can vouch,) 
I fell asleep; and lo! I seemed to crouch 
Among the boulders, and for fish to wait. 
Still dangling, rod in hand, my vagrant bait, 
A fat fellow caught it: (e'en in sleep I'm bound 
To dream of fishing, as of crusts the hound:) 
Fast clung he to the hooks; his blood outwelled; 
Bent with his struggling was the rod I held: 
I tugged and tugged: my efforts made me ache: 
'How, with a line thus slight, this monster take?' 
Then gently, just to warn him he was caught, 
I twitched him once; then slacked and then made taut 
My line, for now he offered not to run; 
A glance soon showed me all my task was done. 
'Twas a goldfish, pure metal every inch 
That I had captured. I began to flinch: 
'What if this beauty be the sea-king's joy. 
Or azure Amphitrite's treasured toy! ' 
fFith care I disengaged him — not to rip 

104 



THE FISHERMEN 

fVith hasty hook the gilding from his lip: 

And with a tow-line landed him, and swore 

Kever to set my foot on ocean more. 

But with my gold live royally ashore. 

So I awoke: and, comrade, lend me now 

Thy wits, for I am troubled for my vow," 

COMRADE. ''J^e'er quake: you are pledged to nothing, 

for no prize 
Tou gained or gazed on. Dreams are naught hut lies, 
Tet may this dream hear fruit; if, wide-awake 
And not in dreams, you 'II fish the neighbouring lake. 
Fish that are meat you 7/ there mayhap hehold, 
J^ot die of famine, amid dreams of gold,'' 




IDYLL XXII 

THE SONS OF LEDA 

The pair I sing, that Mgis-armed Zeus 
Gave unto Leda; Castor and the dread 
Of bruisers Poly deuces, whensoever 
His harnessed hands were lifted for the fray. 
Twice and again I sing the manly sons 
Of Leda, those Twin Brethren, Sparta's own: 
fVho shield the soldier on the deadly scarp. 
The horse wild-plunging o'er the crimson field, 
The ship that, disregarding in her pride 
Star-set and star-rise, meets disastrous gales: — 
Such gales as pile the billows mountain-high. 
E'en at their own wild will, round stem or stem: 
Dash o'er the hold, the timbers rive in twain. 
Till mast and tackle dangle in mid-air 
Shivered like toys, and, as the night wears on. 
The rain of heaven falls fast, and, lashed by wind 
And iron hail, broad ocean rings again. 
Then can they draw from out the nether abyss 
Both craft and crew, each deeming he must die: 
Lo the wi?ids cease, and o'er the burnished deep 
Comes stillness; this way flee the clouds and that; 
And shine out clear the Great Bear and the Less, 

106 



THE SONS OF LEDA 

Andy 'twixt the Asses dimly seen, the Crib 
Foretells fair voyage to the mariner. 
O saviours, O companions of mankind y 
Matchless on horse or harp, in lists or lay; 
JVhich of ye twain demands my earliest song? 
Of both I sing; of Poly deuces first. 

Argo, escaped the two inrushing rocks. 
And snow-clad Pontus with his baleful jaws. 
Came to Bebrycia with her heaven-sprung freight; 
There by one ladder disembarked a host 
Of Heroes from the decks of Jason's ship. 
On the low beach, to leeward of the cliff. 
They leapt, and piled their beds, and lit their fires: 
Castor meanwhile, the bridler of the steed. 
And Poly deuces of the nut-brown face. 
Had wandered from their mates; and, wild ere d both. 
Searched through the boskage of the hill, and found 
Hard by a slab of rock a bubbli?ig spring 
Brimful of purest water. In the depths 
Below, like crystal or like silver gleamed 
The pebbles: high above it pine and plane 
And poplar rose, and cypress tipt with green; 
With all rich flowers that throng the mead, when wanes 
The Spring, sweet workshops of the furry bee. 
There sat and sunned him one of giant bulk 

107 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXII 

And grisly mien: hard knocks had stov'n his ears: 
Broad were his shoulders ^ vast his orbbd chest: 
Like a wrought statue rose his iron frame: 
And nigh the shoulder on each brawny arm 
Stood out the muscles, huge as rolling stones 
Caught by some rain-swoln river and shapen smooth 
By its wild eddyings: and o'er nape and spine 
Hung, balanced by the claws, a lion's skin. 
Him Leda's conquering son accosted first: 

POLYDEUCES. Luck to thcc, friend unknown ! Who 

own this shore? 
AMY c us. Luck, quotha, to see men ne'er seen before! 
POLYDEUCES. Fear not, no base or base-born herd 

are we. 
AM Ycus. J^othing I fear, nor need learn this from 

thee. 
POLYDEUCES. fVhat art thou? brutish churl, or 

o'erproud king? 
AM YCUS. E'en what thou see'st: and I am not 

trespassing. 
POLYDEUCES. Visit our land, take gifts from us, and go. 
AMY c US. I seek naught from thee and can naught 

bestow. 
POLYDEUCES. Jfot e'en such grace as from yon spring 
f to sip? 

108 



THE SONS OF LEDA 

AMYCUS. Trjy if parch' d thirst sits languid on thy lip, 
POLYDEUCES. Can silver move thee? or if not, what 

can? 
AMYCUS. Stand up and fight me singly, man with man. 
POLYDEUCES. fVithfists? orflst andfooty eye covering 

eye? 
AMYCUS. Fall to withfsts; and all thy cunning try. 
POLYDEUCES. This arm, these gauntlets, who shall 

dare withstand? 
AMYCUS. /: and "the Bruiser'' lifts no womari' s-hand. 
POLYDEUCES. fVHt thou, to crown our strife, some 

meed assign? 
AMYCUS. Thou shalt be called my master, or I thine. 
POLYDEUCES. By crimson-crcstcd cocks such games 

are won. 
AMYCUS. Lions or cocks, we'll play this game or none. 

He spoke, and clutched a hollow shell, and blew 
His clarion. Straightway to the shadowy pine 
Clustering they came, as loud it pealed and long, 
Bebrycia's bearded sons; and Castor too. 
The peerless in the lists, went forth and called 
From the Magnesian ship the Heroes alL 

Then either warrior armed with coils of hide 
His hands, and round his limbs bound ponderous bands, 

109 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXII 

And, breathing hloodshedy slept into the ring. 
First there was much manoeuvring, who should catch 
The sunlight on his rear: hut thou didst foil, 
O Poly deuces, valour by address; 
And full on Amy cus' face the hot noon smote. 
He in hot wrath strode forward, threatening war; 
Straightway the Tyndarid smote him, as he closed. 
Full on the chin : more furious waxed he still. 
And, earthward bent, dealt blindly random blows. 
Bebrycia shouted loud, the Greeks too cheered 
Their champion -.fearing lest in that scant space 
This Tityus by sheer weight should bear him down. 
But, shifting yet still there, the son of Zeus 
Scored him with swift exchange of left and right y 
And checked the onrush of the sea-god's child. 
Parlous albeit: till, reeling with his wounds, 
He stood, and from his lips spat crimson blood. 
Cheered yet again the princes, when they saw 
The lips and jowl all seamed with piteous scars. 
And the swoln visage and the half-closed eyes. 
Still the prince teased him, feinting here or there 
A thrust; and when he saw him helpless all. 
Let drive beneath his eyelids at his nose. 
And laid it bare to the bone. The stricken man 
Measured his length supine amid the fern. 
Keen was the fighting when he rose again, 

110 



THE SONS OF LEDA 

Deadly the blozvs their sturdy gauntlets dealt. 

But while Behrycias chieftain sparred round chest 

And utmost shoulder, the resistless foe 

Made his whole face one mass of hideous womids. 

fVhile the one sweated all his bulk away. 

And, late a giant, seemed a pigmy now. 

The other's limbs waxed ever as he fought 

In semblance and in size. But in what wise 

The child of Zeus brought low that man of greed. 

Tell, Muse, for thine is knowledge: I unfold 

A secret not mine own : at thy behest 

Speak or am dumb, nor speak but as thou wilt, 

Amycus, at hirst to do some doughty deed, 
Stooping aslant from Poly deuces' lunge 
Locked their left hands; and, stepping out, upheaved 
From his right hip his ponderous other-arm. 
And hit and harmed had been Amyclce's ki?ig; 
But, ducking low, he smote with one stout fist 
The foe's left temple — fast the life-blood streamed 
From the grim rift — and on his shoulder fell. 
While with his left he reached the mouth, and made 
The set teeth tingle; and, redoubling aye 
His plashing blozvs, made havoc of his face 
And crashed into his cheeks, till all abroad 
He lay, and throwing up his arms disclaimed 

111 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXII 

The strife, for he was even at death's door. 
JVb wrong the vanquished suffered at thy hands, 
O Poly deuces; but he sware an oath. 
Calling his sire Poseidon from the depths, 
J^e'er to do violence to a stranger more. 

Thy tale, O prince, is told. J^ow sing I thee. 
Castor the Tyndarid, lord of rushing horse 
And shaking javelin^ corsleted in brass. 

PART II 

The sons of Zeus had borne two maids away, 
Leucippus' daughters. Straight in hot pursuit 
Went the two brethren, sons of Aphareus, 
Lynceus and Idas bold, their plighted lords. 
And when the tomb of Aphareus was gained. 
All leapt from out their cars, and front to front 
Stood, with their ponderous spears and orbed shields. 
First Lynceus shouted loud from 'neath his helm: 

''Whence, sirs, this lust for strife? Why, sword in 
hand. 
Raise ye this coil about your neighbours' wives? 
To us Leucippus these his daughters gave. 
Long ere ye saw them: they are ours on oath. 

112 



THE SONS OF LEDA 

Te, coveting (to your shame) your neighbour's bed 

And kine and asses and whatever is his. 

Suborned the man and stole our wives by bribes. 

How often spake I thus before your face. 

Tea I my self y though scant I am of phrase: 

'JVot thus, fair sirs, do honourable men 

Seek to woo wives whose troth is given elsewhere. 

Lo, broad is Sparta, broad the hunting-grounds 

Of Elis: fleecy A ready is broad, 

AndArgos and Messene and the towns 

To westward, and the long Sisyphian reach. 

There 'neath her parents' roof dwells many a maid 

Second to none in godliness or wit: 

Wed of all these, and welcome, whom ye will. 

For all men court the kinship of the brave; 

And ye are as your sires, and they whose blood 

Runs in your mother's veins, the flower of war. 

JV^ay, sirs, but let us bring this thing to pass; 

Then, taking counsel, choose meet brides for you.' 

So Iran on; but o'er the shifting seas 

The wind's breath blew my words, that found no grace 

fVithyou,forye defied the chaimer's voice. 

Tet listen to me now if ne'er before: 

Lo! we are kinsmen by the father's side. 

But if ye lust for war, if strife must break 

Forth among kin, and bloodshed quench our feud, 

113 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXII 

Bold Poly deuces the?i shall hold his hands 
A?id his cousin Idasfroyn the abhorred fray: 
fVhile I and Castor, the two younger-horn. 
Try war's arbitrament; so spare our sires 
Sorrow exceeding. In one house one dead 
Siifficeth: let the others glad their mates, 
To the bride-chamber passing, not the grave. 
And o'er yon maids sing jubilee. Well it were 
At cost so small to lay so huge a strife T 

He spoke — his words heaven gave not to the winds. 
They, the two first-born, disarrayed and piled 
Their arms, while Lynceus stept into the ring. 
And at his shield's rim shook his stalwart spear. 
And Castor likewise poised his quivering lance; 
High waved the plume on either warrior's helm. 
First each at other thrust with busy spear 
Where'er he spied an inch of flesh exposed: 
But lo! both spearpoints in their wicker shields 
Lodged ere a blow was struck, and snapt in twain. 
Then they unsheathed their swords, and framed new 

modes 
Of slaughter: pause or respite there was none. 
Oft Castor on broad shield and plumed helm 
Lit, and oft keen-eyed Lynceus pierced his shield. 
Or grazed his crest of crimson. But anon, 

114 



THE SONS OF LEDA 

As Lynceus aimed his blade at Castor's knee. 

Back with the left sprang Castor a?id struck off 

His fingers: from the maimed limb dropped the sword. 

And, flying straightway , for his father' s tomb 

He made, where gallant Idas sat and saw 

The battle of the brethren. But the child 

Of Zeus rushed in, and with his broadsword drave 

Throughflank and navel, sundering with swift stroke 

His vitals: Lyyiceus tottered and he fell. 

And o'er his eyelids rushed the dreamless sleep, 

J^or did their mother see her elder son 

Come a fair bridegroom to his Cretan home. 

For Idas wrenched from off the dead man's tomb 

A jutting slab, to hurl it at the man 

Who had slain his brother. Then did Zeus bring aid. 

And struck the marble fabric from his grasp. 

And with red lightning burned his frame to dust. 

So doth he fight with odds who dares provoke 

The Tyndarids, rnighty sons of mighty sire. 

JsTozv farewell, Leda's children : prosper aye 

The songs I sing. What minstrel loves not well 

The Tyndarids, and Helen, and the chiefs 

That trod Troy dozvnfor Meneldus' sake? 

The bard of Chios wrought your royal deeds 

Into his lays, who sang of Priam's state. 

And fights 'neath Ilion's walls; of sailor Greeks, 

115 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXII 

And of Achilles towering in the strife. 
Tet take from me whatever of clear sweet song 
The Muse accords me, even all my store! 
The gods' most precious gift is minstrelsy. 




IDYLL XXIII 

LOVE AVENGED 

A lad deep-dipt in passion pined for one 

fVhose mood wasfroward as her face was fair. 

Lovers she loathed, for tenderness she had none: 
JsTe'er knew what Love was like, 7ior how he bare 

A how, and arrows to make young maids smart: 

Proof to all speech, all access, seemed her heart. 

So he found naught his furnace to allay; 

J^o quiver of lips, no lighting of kind eyes, 
J^or rose-flushed cheek; no talk, no lover' splay 

fVas deigned him: but as forest-beasts are shy 
Of hound and hunter, with this wight dealt she; 
Fierce was her lip, her eyes gleamed ominously. 

Her tyrant* s-heart was imaged in her face. 

That flushed, then altering put on blank disdain. 

Tet, even then, her anger had its grace. 
And made her lover fall in love again. 

At last, unable to endure his flame. 

To the fell threshold all in tears he came: 

Kissed it, and If ted up his voice and said: 
''O heart of stone ^ O curst and cruel maid 

117 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXIII 

Unworthy of all love, by lions bred. 

See, my last offering at thy feet is laid. 
The halter that shall ha?ig me! So no more 
For my sake, lady, need thy heart be sore. 

*^ Whither thou doom'st me, thither must I fare. 

There is a path, that whoso treads hath ease 
(Men say ) from love; Forgetfulness is there. 

But if I drain that chalice to the lees, 
I may not quench the love I have for you; 
JsTow at your gates I cast my long adieu. 

" Tour future I foresee. The rose is gay. 
And passing-sweet the violet of the spring: 

Tet time despoils them, and they soon decay. 
The lily droops and dies, that lustrous thing; 

The solid-seeming snowdrift melts full fast; 

And maiden's bloom is rare, but may not last. 

" The time shall come, when you shall feel as I; 

And, with seared heart, weep many a bitter 
tear. 
But, maiden, grant one farewell courtesy. 

When you come forth, and see me hanging here. 
E'en at your door, forget not my hard case; 
But pause and weep me for a moment's space. 

118 



LOVE AVENGED 

'*And drop one tear, and cut me down, and spread 
O'er me some garment, for a funeral pall. 

That wrapped thy limbs: and kiss me — let the dead 
Be privileged thus highly — last of all, 

Tou need not fear me: not if your disdain 

Changed into fondness could I live again. 

*'And scoop a grave, to hide my loves and me: 

And thrice, at parting, say, 'My friend 's no more:' 

Add if you list, 'a faithful friend was he;' 

And write this epitaph, scratched upon your door: 

Stranger, Love slew him. Pass not by, until 

Thou hast paused and said, 'His mistress used him 

iiir' 

This said, he grasped a stone: that ghastly stone 
At the mid threshold 'neath the wall he laid. 

And o'er the beam the light cord soon was thrown. 
And his neck noosed. In air the body swayed. 

Its footstool spurned away. Forth came once more 

The maid, and saw him hanging at her door. 

J^o struggle of heart it cost her, ne'er a tear 

She wept o'er that young life, nor shu?med to soil. 

By contact with the corpse, her zvoman' s-gear. 
But on she went to watch the athletes' toil, 

119 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXIII 

Then made for her loved haunt, the riverside: 
And there she met the god she had defied. 

For on a marble pedestal Eros stood 

Fronting the pool: the statue leaped, and smote 
And slew that miscreant. All the stream ran blood; 

And to the top a girVs cry seemed tofioat. 
Rejoice, O lovers, since the scornerfell; 
And, maids, be kind; for Love deals justice well. 




I 



IDYLL XXIV 

THE INFANT HERACLES 

Alcmena once had washed and given the breast 
To Heracles, a babe often months old, 
And Iphicles his junior by a night; 
And cradled both within a brazen shield, 
A gorgeous trophy y which Amphitryon erst 
Had striptfrom PtereldusfalVn in fight. 
She stroked their baby brows, and thus she said: 

^' Sleep, children mine, a light luxurious sleep. 
Brother with brother: sleep, my boys, my life: 
Blest in your slumber, in your waking blest!'' 

She spake and rocked the shield; and in his arms 
Sleep took them. But at midnight, when the Bear 
fVheels to his setting, in Orion's front 
fVhose shoulder then beams broadest; Hera sent. 
Mistress of wiles, two huge and hideous thijigs, 
Snakes with their scales of azure all on end. 
To the broad portal of the chamber-door. 
All to devour the infant Heracles, 
They, all their length uncoiled upon the floor, 
fVrithed on to their blood-feast; a baleful light 

121 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXIV 

Gleamed in their eyes, rank venom they spat forth. 

But when with lambent tongues they neared the cot, 

Alcmena's babes (for Zeus was watching all) 

Woke, and throughout the chamber there was light. 

Then Iphicles — so soon as he descried 

The fell brutes peering o'er the hollow shield. 

And saw their merciless fangs — cried lustily. 

And kicked away his coverlet of down. 

Fain to escape. But Heracles, he clung 

Round them with warlike hands, in iron grasp 

Prisoning the two: his clutch upon their throaty 

The deadly snake's laboratory, where 

He brews such poisons as e'en heaven abhors. 

They twined and twisted round the babe that, bom 

After lo7ig travail, ne'er had shed a tear 

E'en in his nursery; soon to quit their hold. 

For powerless seemed their spines. Alcmena heard. 

While her lord slept, the crying, and awoke. 

^'Amphitryon, up: chill fears take hold on me. 
Up: stay not to put sandals on thy feet. 
Hear' St thou our child, our younger, how he cries? 
Seest thou yon walls illumed at dead of night. 
But not by mom's pure beam? I hiow, I know, 
Sweet lord, that some strange thing is happening 
here." 

122 



THE INFANT HERACLES 

She Spake; and he, uple aping at her call. 
Made swiftly for the sword of quaint device 
That aye hung dangling o'er his cedar n couch: 
And he was reaching at his span-new belt, 
The scabbard (one huge piece of lotus-wood ) 
Poised on his arm; when suddenly the night 
Spread out her hands, and all was dark again. 
Then cried he to his slaves, whose sleep was deep: 
^' Quick, slaves of mine; f etch fire from yonder hearth, 
And force with all your strength the doorbolts back! 
Up, loyal-hearted slaves: the master calls,'' 

Forth came at once the slaves with lighted lamps. 
The house was all astir with hurrying feet. 
But when they saw the suckling Heracles 
With the two brutes grasped firm in his soft hands. 
They shouted with one voice. But he must show 
The reptiles to Amphitryon; held aloft 
His hands in childish glee, and laughed and laid 
At his sire's feet the monsters still in death. 

Then did Alcmena to her bosom take 
The terror-blanched and passionate Iphicles: 
Cradling the other in a lambs wool quilt. 
Her lord once more bethought him of his rest. 



123 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXIV 

JsTow cocks had thrice sung out that night was o'er. 
Then went Alcmena forth and told the thing 
To Teiresias the seer, whose words were truths 
And hade him rede her what the end should he: — 
'' And if the gods hode mischief, hide it not. 
Pitying, from me: man shall not thus avoid 
The doom that Fate upon her distaff spins. 
Son of Eueres, thou hast ears to hear.*' 

Thus spake the queen, and thus he made reply: 
'' Mother of monarchs, Perseus' child, take heart; 
And look hut on the fairer side of things. 
For hy the precious light that long ago 
Left tenajitless these eyes, I swear that oft 
Achaias maidens, as when eve is high 
They mould the silken yam upon their lap. 
Shall tell Alcme7ia's story: hlest art thou 
Of women. Such a man in this thy son 
Shall one day scale the star-encumhered heaven: 
His a?nplitude of chest he speaks him lord 
Of all the forest heasts and all mankind. 
Twelve tasks accomplished he must dwell with Zeus; 
His flesh given over to Trachinian fires; 
And son-in-law he hailed of those same gods 
fVho sent yon skulking hrutes to slay thy hahe. 
Lo! the day cometh when the fawn shall couch 

124 



THE INFANT HERACLES 

In the wolfs lair, nor fear the spiky teeth 
That would not harm him. But, O lady, keep 
Ton smouldering fire alive; prepare you piles 
Of fuel, bramble-sprays or fern or furze 
Or pear-boughs dried with swinging in the wind: 
And let the kindled wild-wood burn those snakes 
At midnight, when they looked to slay thy babe. 
And let at dawn some handmaid gather up 
The ashes of the fire, and diligently 
Convey and cast each remnant o'er the stream 
Faced by clov'n rocks, our boundary : then return 
JsTor look behind. And purify your home 
First with sheer sulphur, rain upon it then, 
(Chaplets of olive wound about your heads,) 
Innocuous water, and the customed salt. 
Lastly, to Zeus almighty slay a boar: 
So shall ye vanquish all your enemies.'' 

Spake Teiresias, and wheeling (though his years 
IVeighed on him sorely) gained his ivory car. 
And Heracles as some young orchard-tree 
Grew up, Amphitryoyi his reputed sire. 
Old Linus taught him letters, Phoebus' child, 
A dauntless toiler by the midnight lamp. 
Each fall whereby the so?is of Argosfell, 
The fingers by cross-buttock, each his man 

125 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXIV 

By feats of wrestling : all that boxers e'er. 
Grim in their gauntlets, have devised, or they 
fVho wage mixed warfare and, adepts in art. 
Upon the foe fall headlong: all such lore 
Phocian Harpalicus gave him, Hermes' son : 
fVhom no man might behold while yet far off 
And wait his armed onset undismayed: 
A brow so truculent roofed so stern a face. 
To launch, and steer in safety round the goal. 
Chariot and steed, and damage ne'er a wheel. 
This the lad learned of fond Amphitryon' s self 
Many afair prize from listed warriors he 
Had won on Argive racegrounds ; yet the car 
JVhereon he sat came still unshattered home. 
What gaps were in his harness time had made. 
Then with couched lance to reach the foe, his targe 
Covering his rear, and bide the biting sword; 
Or, on the warpath, place his ambuscade. 
Marshal his lines and rally his cavaliers; 
This knightly Castor learned him, erst exiled 
From Argos, when her realms with all their wealth 
Of vineyards fell to Tydeus, who received 
Her and her chariots at Adrastus' hand. 
Amongst the Heroes none was Castor's match 
Till age had dimmed the glory of his youth. 



126 



THE INFANT HERACLES 

Such tutors this fond mother gave her son. 
The stripling's bed was at his father's side. 
One after his own heart, a lion's skin. 
His dinner, roast meaty with a loaf that filled 
A Dorian basket, you might soothly say 
Had satisfied a delve r; and to close 
The day he took, sans fire, a scanty meal. 
A simple frock went halfway down his leg: 




IDYLL XXV 

HERACLES THE LION SLAYER 



To whom thus spake the herds?nan of the herd. 
Pausing a mo?nentfrom his handiwork: 
''Friend, I will solve thy questions, for I fear 
The angry looks of Hermes of the roads. 
JsTo dweller in the skies is wroth as he. 
With hi?n who saith the asking traveller nay. 

''The flocks Augeas owns, our gracious lord. 
One pasture pastures not, nor one fence hounds. 
They wander, look you, some by Elissus* banks 
Or god-beloved Alpheus' sacred stream, 
Some by Buprasion, where the grape abounds, 
Some here: their folds stand separate. But before 
His herds, though they be myriad, yonder glades 
That belt the broad lake round lie fresh and fair 
For ever: for the low-lying meadows take 
The dew, and teem with herbage honeysweet. 
To lend new vigour to the horned kine. 
Here on thy right their stalls thou canst descry 
By the flowing river, for all eyes to see: 

128 



HERACLES THE LION SLAYER 

Here, where the platans blossom all the year. 

And glimmers green the olive that enshrines 

Rural Apollo, most august of gods. 

Hard by, fair mansions have been reared for us 

His herdsmen; us who guard with might and main 

His riches that are more than tongue may tell: 

Casting our seed o'er fallows thrice upturned 

Or four times by the share; the bounds whereof 

Well do the delvers know, whose busy feet 

Troop to his wine-vats in fair summer-time. 

Tea, all these acres wise Augeas owns. 

These corn-clad uplands and these orchards green. 

Far as yon ledges whence the cataracts leap. 

Here do we haunt, here toil, as is the wont 

Of labourers in the fields, the livelong day. 

But prythee tell me thou — so shalt thou best 

Serve thine own interests — wherefore art thou here? 

Seeking Augeas, or mayhap some slave 

That serves him ? I can tell thee and I will 

All thou would' St know: for of no churlish blood 

Thou camest, nor wert nurtured as a churl: 

That read I in thy stateliness of form; 

The sons of heaven move thus among mankind.'' 

Then answered him the warrior son of Zeus. 
** Tea, veteran, I would see the Epean King 

129 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXV 

Augeas; surely for this end I came. 
If he hides there amongst his citizens y 
Ruling the folk, deter?nining the laws. 
Look, father; bid some serf to he my guide, 
Some honoured master-worker in the fields, 
fVho to shrewd questions shrewdly can reply. 
Are not we made dependent each on each?'' 

To him the good old swain made answer thus: 
^'Stranger, some god hath timed thy visit here. 
And given thee straightway all thy heart's desire. 
Hither Augeas, offspring of the Sun, 
Came, with young Phyleus splendid in his strength. 
But yesterday from the city, to review 
(JsTot in one day) his multitudinous wealth, 
Methinks e'en princes say within themselves, 
'The safeguard of the flock 's the master's eye,* 
But haste, we 'II seek him: to my own fold I 
Will pilot thee; there haply find the King." 

He said and went in front: hut pondered 
much 
(As he surveyed the lion-skin and the cluh. 
Itself an armful) whence this stranger came; 
And fain had asked. But fear recalled the words 
That trejuhled on his lip, the fear to say 

130 






HERACLES THE LION SLAYER 

Aught that his fiery friend might take amiss. 
For who can fathom all his fellow's mind? 

The dogs perceived their coming, yet far off: 
They scented flesh, they heard the thud of feet : 
And with wild gallop, baying furiously, 
Ran at Amphitryon' s son: but feebly whined 
And fawned upon the old man at his side. 
Then Heracles, just lifting from the ground 
A pebble, scared them home, and with hard words 
Cursed the whole pack; and having stopped their din 
(Inly rejoiced, nathless, to see them guard 
So well an absent master's house) he spake: 

*'Lo! what a friend the royal gods have given 
Man in the dog! A trusty servant he! 
Had he withal an understanding heart, 
To teach him when to rage and when forbear. 
What brute could claim like praise? But, lacking wit, 
'T is but a passionate random-raving thing." 

He spake: the dogs ran scurrying to their lairs. 
And now the sun wheeled round his westering car 
And led still evening on: from every field 
Came thronging thefatfiocks to bield and byre. 
Then in their thousands, drove on drove, the kine 

131 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXV 

Came into view; as rainclouds, onward driven 

By stress of gales , the west or mighty north. 

Come up o'er all the heaven; and none may count 

And naught may stay them as they sweep through air; 

Such multitudes the storm's strength drives ahead, 

Such multitudes climb surging in the rear — 

So in swift sequence drove succeeded drove. 

And all the champaign, all the highways swarmed 

With tramping oxen; all the sumptuous leas 

Rang with their lowing. Soon enough the stalls 

fVere populous with the laggard-footed kine. 

Soon did the sheep Refolded in their folds. 

Then of that legion none stood idle, none 

Gaped listless at the herd, with naught to do: 

But one drew near and milked them, binding clogs 

Of wood with leathern thongs around their feet: 

One brought, all hungering for the milk they loved. 

The longing young ones to the longing dams. 

One held the pail, one pressed the dainty cheese. 

Or drove the bulls home, sundered from the kine. 

Pacing from stall to stall, Augeas saw 

What revenue his herdsman brought him in. 

With him his son surveyed the royal wealth. 

And, strong of limb and purpose, Heracles, 

Then, though the heart within him was as steel. 

Framed to withstand all shocks, Amphitryon's son 

132 



HERACLES THE LION SLAYER 

Gazed in amazement on those thronging kine; 

For none had deemed or dreamed that one, or ten. 

Whose wealth was more than regal, owned those tribes. 

Such huge largess the Sun had given his child. 

First of mankind for multitude of flocks. 

The Sun himself gave increase day by day 

To his child's herds: whatever diseases spoil 

The farmer, came not there; his kine increased 

In multitude and value year by year: 

J^one cast her young, or bear unfruitful males. 

Three hundred bulls, white-pasterned, crumple-home d. 

Ranged amid these, and eke two hundred roans. 

Sires of a race to be: and twelve besides 

Herded amongst them, sacred to the Sun, 

Their skin was white as swansdown, and they moved 

Like kings amid the beasts of laggard foot. 

Scorning the herd in uttermost disdain 

They cropped the green grass in untrodden fields: 

And when from the dense jungle to the plain 

Leapt a wild beast, in quest of vagrant cows; 

Scenting him first, the twelve went forth to war. 

Stern was their bellowing, in their eye sat death. 

Foremost of all for mettle and for might 

And pride of heart loomed Phaeton: him the swains 

Regarded as a star; so bright he shone 

Among the herd, the cynosure of eyes, 

133 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXV 

He, soon as he descried the sun-dried skin 

Of the grim lion, made at Heracles 

(Whose eye was on him) — fain to make his crest 

And sturdy brow acquainted with his flanks. 

Straight the prince grasped him with no tender grasp 

By the left horn, and bowed that giant bulk 

To earth, neck foremost; then, by pressure brought 

To bear upon his shoulder,forced him back. 

The web of muscles that enwraps the nerves 

Stood out from the brute' s fore-arm plain to see. 

Marvelled the King, and Phyleus his brave son. 

At the strange prowess of Amphitryon' s child. 

Then townwards, leaving straight that rich 
champaign. 
Stout Heracles his comrade, Phyleus fared; 
And soon as they had gained the paven road. 
Making their way hotfooted o'er a path 
(JsTot o'er-conspicuous in the dim green wood) 
That left the farm and threaded through the vines. 
Out-spake unto the child of Zeus most high. 
Who followed in his steps, Augeas' son, 
O'er his right shoulder glancing pleasantly . 

*'0 stranger, as some old familiar tale 
I seem to cast thy history in my mind. 

134 



HERACLES THE LION SLAYER 

For there came one to Argos, young and tall. 
By birth a Greek from Helice-on-seas, 
fVho told this tale before a multitude: 
How that an Argive in his presence slew 
A fearful lion-beast, the dread and death 
Of herdsmen; which inhabited a den 
Or cavern by the grove of JsTemean Zeus, 
He may have come from sacred Argos' self. 
Or Tiryns, or Mycena: what know /? 
But thus he told his tale, and said the slayer 
JVas (if my memory serves me) Perseus' son. 
Me thinks no islander had dared that deed 
Save thee: the lion's skin that wraps thy ribs 
Argues full well some gallant feat of arms. 
But tell me, warrior,frst — that I may know 
If my prophetic soul speak truth or not — 
Art thou the man of whom that stranger Greek 
Spoke in my hearing? Have I guessed aright ? 
How slew you single-handed that fell beast? 
How came it among rivered J^emeas glens ? 
For none such monster could the eagerest eye 
Find in all Greece: Greece harbours bear a?id boar. 
And deadly wolf: but not this larger game, 
'Twas this that made his listeners marvel then: 
They deemed he told them travellers' tales, to win 
By random words applause from standers-by,'* 

135 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXV 

Then Phyleusfrom the mid-road edged away. 
That both might walk abreast, a?id he might catch 
More at his ease what fell from Heracles: 
Who journeying now alongside thus began : 

*'0n the prior matter, O Augias' child. 
Thine own unaided wit hath ruled aright. 
But all that monster's history, how it felly 
Fain would I tell thee who hast ears to hear, 
Save only whence it came: for none of all 
The Argive host could read that riddle right. 
Some god, we dimly guessed, our niggard vows 
Resenting, had upon Phoroneus' realm 
Let loose this very scourge of humankind. 
On peopled Pisa plunging like a flood 
The brute ran riot: notably it cost 
Its neighbours of Bembina woes untold. 
And here Eurystheus bade me try my first 
Passage of arms, and slay that fearsome thing. 
So with my buxom bow and quiver lined 
IVith arrows I set forth: my left hand held 
My club, a beetling olive's stalwart trujik 
And shapely, still environed in its bark: 
This hand had torn from holiest Helicon 
The tree entire, with all its fibrous roots. 
And finding soon the lion's whereabouts, 

136 



HERACLES THE LION SLAYER 

I grasped my how, and on the bent horn slipped 

The stringy and laid thereon the shaft of death. 

And, now all eyes, I watched for that fell thing. 

In hopes to view him ere he spied out me. 

But midday came, and nowhere could I see 

One footprint of the beast or hear his roar: 

And, trust me, none appeared of whom to ask. 

Herdsman or labourer, in the furrowed lea; 

For wan dismay kept each man in his hut. 

Still on I footed, searching through and through 

The leafy mountain-passes, till I saw 

The creature, and forthwith essayed my strength. 

Gorged from some gory carcass, on he stalked 

At eve towards his lair; his grizzled mane. 

Shoulders, and grim glad visage, all adrip 

With carnage; and he licked his bearded lips. 

I, crouched among the shadows of the trees 

On the green hill-top, waited his approach. 

And as he came I aimed at his left flank. 

The barbed shaft sped idly, nor could pierce 

The flesh, but glancing dropped on the green grass. 

He, wondering, raised forthwith his tawny head. 

And ran his eyes o'er all the vicinage. 

And snarled and gave to view his cavernous throat. 

Meanwhile I levelled yet another shaft, 

III pleased to think my first had fed in vain. 

137 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXV 

In the mid-chest I smote him, where the lungs 

Are seated: still the arroiv sank not in. 

But fell, its errand frustrate, at his feet. 

Once more was I prepaj'ing, sore chagrined. 

To draw the bowstring, when the ravenous beast 

Glaring around espied me, lashed his sides 

With his huge tail, and opened war at once. 

Swelled his vast neck, his dun locks stood on end 

JVith rage: his spine moved sinuous as a bow. 

Till all his weight hung poised on flank and loin. 

And e'en as, when a chariot-builder bends 

With practised skill his shafts of splintered fig. 

Hot from the fire, to be his axle-wheels; 

Flies the tough-rinded sapling from the hands 

That shape it, at a bound recoiling far : 

So from far-off the dread beast, all of a heap. 

Sprang on me, hungering for my life-blood, I 

Thrust with one hand my arrows in his face 

And my doffed doublet, while the other raised 

My seasoned cudgel o'er his crest, and drave 

Full at his temples, breaking clean in twain 

On thefourfooted warrior's hairy scalp 

My club; and ere he reached me, down he fell. 

Headlong he fell, a7id poised on treinulous feet 

Stood, his head wagging, a?id his eyes grown dim; 

For the shrewd stroke had shattered brain and bone. 

138 



HERACLES THE LION SLAYER 

/, marking him beside himself with pain. 

Fell, ere recovering he should breathe again. 

At vantage on his solid sinewy neck. 

My bow and woven quiver thrown aside. 

With iron clasp I gripped him from the rear 

(His talons else had torn me) and, my foot 

Set on him, forced to earth by dint of heel 

His hinder parts, my flanks intrenched the while 

Behind his fore-arm; till his thews were stretched 

And strained, and on his haunches stark he stood 

And lifeless; hell received his monstrous ghost. 

Then with myself I counselled how to strip 

From off the dead beast's limbs his shaggy hide, 

A task full onerous, since I found it proof 

Against all blows of steel or stone or wood. 

Some god at last inspired me with the thought, 

With his own claws to rend the lion's skin. 

With these I flayed him soon, and sheathed and armed 

My limbs against the shocks of murderous war. 

Thus, sir, the J^emean lion met his end, 

Erewhile the constant curse of beast and man.'' 




IDYLL XXVI 

THE BACCHANALS 

Agave of the vermeil-tinted cheek 

And Ino and Autonod jnarshalled erst 
Three hands of revellers under one hill-peak. 

They plucked the wild-oak's matted foliage first. 
Lush ivy then, and creeping asphodel; 
And reared therewith twelve shrines amid the untrodden 
fell: 

To SemeU three, to Dionysus nine. 

J^ext,from a vase drew offerings subtly wrought, 
And prayed and placed them on each fresh green 
shrine; 
So by the god, who loved such tribute, taught. 
Perched on the sheer cliff, Pentheus could espy 
All, in a mastick hoar ensconced that grew thereby. 

Autonod marked him, and with frightful cries 

Flew to make havoc of those mysteries weird 
That must not be profaned by vulgar eyes. 

Her frenzy frenzied all. Then Pentheus feared 
And fed: and in his wake those damsels three. 
Each with her trailing robe up-gathered to the knee. 

140 



THE BACCHANALS 

*'fFhat will ye, dames?'' quoth Pentheus. ''Thou 
shall guess 
At what we mean, untold,'' Autonod said. 
Agave moaned — so moans a lioness 

Over her young one — as she clutched his head: 
While Ino on the carcass fairly laid 
Her heel, and wrenched away shoulder and shoulder- 
blade, 

Autonod' s turn came next: and what remained 
Of flesh their damsels did among them share. 
And back to Thebes they came all carnage-stained. 

And planted not a king but aching there. 
Warned by this tale, let no man dare defy 
Great Bacchus; lest a death more awful he should die. 

And when he counts nine years or scarcely ten. 
Rush to his ruin. May I pass my days 

Uprightly, and be loved of upright men! 
And take this motto, all who covet praise: 

('Twas Mgis-bearing Zeus that spake itfirst:) 
" The godly seed fares well: the wicked's is accurst," 

Jfow bless ye Bacchus, whom on mountain snows. 

Prisoned in his thigh till then, the Almighty laid. 
And bless ye fairfaced Semeli, and those 

141 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXVI 

Her sisters, hymned of many a hero-maidy 
JVho wrought, by Bacchusjired, a deed which none 
May gainsay — who shall blame that which a god hath 
done? 




IBTLL XXVII 

A COUNTRYMAN'S WOOING 

DAPHNIS A MAIDEN 

The maiden. How fell sage Helen ? through a swain 

like thee. 
DAPHNIS. J^ay the true Helen 'sjust now kissing me, 
THE MAIDEN. Satyr, ne'er boast : ''what 's idler than a 

kissr 
DAPHNIS. Tet in such pleasant idliyig there is bliss, 
THE MAIDEN. 77/ wash my mouth: where go thy 

kisses then? 
DAPHNIS. fVash, and return it — to be kissed again. 
THE MAIDEN. Go kiss your oxen, and not unwed jnaids. 
DAPHNIS. J^e'er boast; for beauty is a dream that fades. 
THE MAIDEN. Past grapes are grapes : dead roses keep 

their smell. 
DAPHNIS. Come to yon olives: I have a tale to tell. 
THE MAIDEN. J^ot I: youfooled me with smooth 

words before. 
DAPHNIS. Come toyon elms, and hear me pipe once 

more. 
THE MAIDEN. Pipe to yoursclf: your piping makes me 

cry. 

143 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXVII 

DAPHNis. ^ maid, andjlout the Paphian? Fie, ohjie! 
THE MAIDEN. She 's Hdught to Meyif Artemis' fdvour 

last. 
DAPHNis. Hush, ere she smite you and entrap you fast. 
THE MAIDEN. And let her smite me, trap me as she 

will! 
DAPHNIS. Tour A rtemis shall he your saviour still ? 
THE MAIDEN. Unhand me ! PFhat, again? Til tear 

your lip. 
DAPHNIS. Can you, could damsel e'er, give Love the 

slip? 
THE MAIDEN. Tou are his bondslave, hut not /, hy 

Pan! 
DAPHNIS. I doubt he * II give thee to a worser man. 
THE MAIDEN. Many have wooed me, but I fancied 

none. 
DAPHNIS. Till among many came the destined one. 
THE MAIDEN. fVedlock is woc. Dear lad, what can I 

do? 
DAPHNIS. Woe it is not, but joy and dancing too. 
THE MAIDEN. PFivcs dread their hushands: so Fve 

heard it said. 
DAPHNIS. J^ay, they rule o'er them. What does woman 

dread? 
THE MAIDEN. Then children — Eileithya's dart is 

keen. 

144 



A COUNTRYMAN S WOOING 

DAPHNis. But the deliverer, Artemis, is your queen. 
THE MAIDEN. And bearing children all our grace 

destroys. 
DAPHNIS. Bear them and shine more lustrous in your 

boys. 
THE MAIDEN. Should I Say yea, what dower awaits 

me then? 
DAPHNIS. Thine are my cattle, thine this glade and 

glen. 
THE MAIDEN. Swcar not to wed, then leave me in my 

woe? 
DAPHNIS. JsTot I, by Pan, though thou should' st bid 

me go. 
THE MAIDEN. And shall a cot be mine, with farm and 

fold? 
DAPHNIS. Thy cot's half-built, fair wethers range this 

wold. 
THE MAIDEN. fVhat, what to my old father must I 

say? 
DAPHNIS. Soon as he hears my name he 'II not say nay. 
THE MAIDEN. Speak it: by e'en a name we're oft 

beguiled. 
D A PH N I s. /'m Daphnis, Lycid's and Komcea's child. 
THE MAIDEN. WelUbom indeed: and not less so am I. 
DAPHNIS. I know — Menalcas' daughter may look 

high. 

145 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXVII 

THE MAIDEN. That grove, where stands your sheep- 
fold, show me, please. 

DAPHNis. J^Tay look, how green, how tall my cypress- 
trees. 

THE MAIDEN. Graze,goats: I go to learn the herds- 
man's trade. 

DAPHNIS. Feed, bulls: I show my copses to my maid. 

THE MAIDEN. Satyr, what mean you ^ Tou presume 
overmuch. 

DAPHNIS. This waist is round, and pleasant to the 
touch. 

THE MAIDEN. By Pan, Fm like to swoon! Unhand 
me pray ! 

DAPHNIS. PFhy be so timorous? Pretty coward, stay. 

THE MAIDEN. This bank is wet : you 've soiled my 
pretty gown. 

DAPHNIS. See, a softjleece to guard it I put down. 

THE MAIDEN. And you'vc purloincd my sash. What 
can this mean? 

DAPHNIS. This sash I'll offer to the Paphian queen. 

THE MAIDEN. Stay, miscreant — some one com£S — / 
heard a noise. 

DAPHNIS. 'T is but the green trees whispering of our 
joys. 

THE MAIDEN. Tou 'vc tOHi my plaidie, and I am half 
unclad. 

146 



A countryman's wooing 

DAPHNis. Anon I'll give you ayet ampler plaid, 
THE maiden. Generous just now, you' II one day 

grudge me bread, 
DAPHNIS. Ah! for thy sake my life-blood I could shed. 
THE MAIDEN. Artemis,forgive ! Thy eremite breaks 

her vow, 
DAPHNIS. Love, and Love's mother, claim a calf and 

cow. 
THE MAIDEN.^ woman I depart, my girlhood o'er. 
DAPHNIS. Be wife, be mother; but a girl no more. 

Thus interchanging whispered talk the pair. 
Their faces all aglow, long lingered there. 
At length the hour arrived when they must part. 
With downcast eyes, but sunshine in her heart. 
She went to tend her flock; while Daphnis ran 
Back to his herded bulls, a happy man. 




IDYLL XXVIII 

THE DISTAFF 

Distaff, blithely whirling distaff, azure-eyed Athena's 

gift 

To the sex the aim and object of whose lives is house- 
hold thrift, 

Seek with me the gorgeous city raised by J^eilus, where 
a plaifi 

Roof of palm-green rush o'er-arches Aphrodite's 
hallowed fane. 

Thither ask I Zeus to waft me, fain to see my old 
friend'sface, 

J^icias, o'er whose birth presided every passion- 
breathing Grace; 

Fain to meet his answering welcome; and anon deposit 
thee 

In his lady's hands, thou marvel of laborious ivory. 

Many a manly robe ye 'II fashion, much translucent 
maiden's gear; 

JVay, should e'er the fleecy mothers twice within the 
selfsame year 

Tield their wool in yonder pasture, Theugenis of the 
dainty feet 

148 



THE DISTAFF 

JVould perform the double labour: matron s cares to her 

are sweet. 
To an idler or a trifler I had verily been loth 
To resign thee, O my distaff, for the same land bred us 

both: 
In the land Corinthian Archias built aforetime, thou 

hadst birth. 
In our island's core and marrow, whence have sprung 

the kings of earth: 
To the home I now transfer thee of a man who knows 

full well 
Every craft whereby men's bodies dire diseases may 

repel: 
There to live in szveet Miletus. Lady of the Distaff she 
Shall be named, and oft reminded ofherpoetf^riend by 

thee: 
Men shall look on thee and murmur to each other, ''Lo! 

how small 
JVas the gift, and yet how precious! Friendship's gifts 

are priceless all." 




IDYLL XXIX 

LOVES 

''Sincerity comes with the wine-cup,*' my dear: 

Then now o'er our wine-cups let us be sincere. 

My soul's treasured secret to you I'll impart; 

It is this; that I never won fairly your heart. 

One half of my life, I am conscious, has flown; 

The residue lives on your image alone, 

Tou are kind, and I dream I'm in paradise then; 

Tou are angry, and lo! all is darkness again. 

It is right to torment one who loves you? Obey 

Tour elder; 't were best; and you 'II thank me one day. 

Settle down in one nest on one tree (taking care 

That no cruel reptile can clamber up there); 

As it is with your lovers you're fairly perplext; 

One day you choose one bough, another the next. 

Whoe'er at all struck by your graces appears. 

Is more to you straight than the comrade of years; 

While he 's like the friend of a day put aside; 

For the breath of your nostrils, I think, is your pride. 

Form a friendship, for life, with som£ likely young lad; 

So doing, in honour your name shall be had. 

J^or would Love use you hardly; though lightly can he 

Bind strong men in chains, and has wrought upon m£ 

150 



LOVES 



Till the steel is as wax — but rm longing to press 
That exquisite mouth with a clinging caress. 

J^o? Reflect that you 're older each year than the last; 
That we all must grow gray, and the wrinkles come 

fast. 
Reflect, ere you spurn mcy that youth at his sides 
Wears wings; and once gone, all pursuit he derides: 
Jfor are men over keen to catch charms as they fly. 
Think of this and he gentle, he loving as I: 
When your years are maturer, we two shall he then 
The pair in the Iliad over again. 
But if you consign all my words to the wind 
And say, ''Why annoy me? you 're not to my mind,'' 
I — who lately in quest of the Gold Fruit had sped 
For your sake, or of Cerherus guard of the dead — 
Though you called me, would ne'er stir a foot from my 

door. 
For my love and my sorrow thenceforth will he o'er. 




IDYLL XXX 

THE DEATH OF ADONIS 

Cythera saw Adonis 

And knew that he was dead; 
She marked the brow, all grisly now. 

The cheek no longer red; 
And ^* Bring the hoar before me'' 

Unto her Loves she said. 

Forthwith her winged attendants 

Ranged all the woodland o'er. 
And found and bound in fetters 

Threefold the grisly boar: 
One dragged him at a rope's end 

E'en as a vanquished foe; 
One went behind and drave him 

And smote him with his bow: 
On paced the creature feebly ; 

He feared Cythera so. 

To him said Aphrodite: 

"So, worst of beasts, 7 was you 
fVho rent that thigh asu7ider, 

fVho him that loved m£ slew?'* 

152 



THE DEATH OF ADONIS 

And thus the beast made answer: 

" Cythera, hear me swear 
By thee, by him that loved thee. 

And by these bonds I wear. 
And them before whose hounds I ran — 
I meant no mischief to the man 

fVho seemed to thee so fair. 

*'As on a carven statue 

Men gaze, I gazed on him; 

I seemed on fire with mad desire 
To kiss that offered limb: 

My ruin. Aphrodite, 

Thus followed from my whim. 

''J^ow therefore take and punish 

And fairly cut away 
These all unruly tusks of mine; 

For to what end serve they? 
And if thine indignation 

Be not content with this. 
Cut off the mouth that ventured 

To offer him a kiss ' ' — 

But Aphrodite pitied 

And bade them loose his chain. 
153 



IDYLL XXX 

THE DEATH OF ADONIS 

Cythera saw Adonis 

And knew that he was dead; 
She marked the brow, all grisly now. 

The cheek no longer red; 
And ^^ Bring the hoar before me'' 

Unto her Loves she said. 

Forthwith her winged attendants 

Ranged all the woodland o'er. 
And found and bound in fetters 

Threefold the grisly boar: 
One dragged him at a rope's end 

E'en as a vanquished foe; 
One went behind and drave him 

And smote him with his bow: 
On paced the creature feebly ; 

He feared Cythera so. 

To him said Aphrodite: 

"So, worst of beasts, 7 was you 
fVho rent that thigh aswider, 

JVho him that loved me slew?*' 

152 



THE DEATH OF ADONIS 

And thus the beast made answer: 
" Cythera, hear me swear 

By thee, by him that loved thee. 
And by these bonds I wear. 

And them before whose hounds I ran 

I meant no mischief to the man 
tVho seemed to thee so fair. 

*'As on a carven statue 

Men gaze, I gazed on him; 

I seemed on fire with mad desire 
To kiss that offered limb: 

My ruin. Aphrodite, 

Thus followed from my whim, 

*'JVow therefore take and punish 

And fairly cut away 
These all unruly tusks of mine; 

For to what end serve they? 
And if thine indignation 

Be not content with this. 
Cut off the mouth that ventured 

To offer him a kiss'' — 

But Aphrodite pitied 

And bade them loose his chain. 

153 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXX 

The hoar from that day forward 
Still followed in her train; 

Jfor ever to the wildwood 
Attempted to return. 

But in the focus of Desire 
Preferred to hum and hum. 



IDYLL XXXI 

LOVES 

Ah for this the most accursld, unendurable of ills! 
J^igh two months a fevered fancy for a maid my bosom 

fills. 
Fair she is, as other damsels : but for what the simplest 

swain 
Claims from the demurest maiden, I must sue and sue in 

vain. 
Tet doth now this thing of evil my longsuffering heart 

beguile. 
Though the utmost she vouchsafes me is the shadow of a 

smile: 
And I soon shall know no respite, have no solace e'en in 

sleep. 
Yesterday I watched her pass me, and from down-dropt 

eyelids peep 
At the face she dared not gaze on — every fnoment 

blushing more — 
And my love took hold upon m£ as it never took before. 
Home I went a wounded creature, with a gnawing at 

my heart; 
And unto the soul within me did my bitterness impart. 

155 



THEOCRITUS IDYLL XXXI 

*'Soul, why deal with me in this wise? Shall thy Jolly 

know no hound? 
Canst thou look upon these temples, with their locks of 

silver crowned. 
And still deem thee young and shapely? JsTay, my soul, 

let us be sage; 
Act as they that have already sipped the wisdom-cup of 

age. 
Men have loved and have forgot ten. Happiest of all is he 
To the lover's woes a stranger,from the lover's fetters 

free: 
Lightly his existence passes, as a wild-deerfleeting 

fast: 
Tamed, it may be, he shall voyage in a maiden's wake 

at last: 
Still to-day 't is his to revel with his mates in boyhood's 

flowers. 
As to thee, thy brain and marrow passion evermore 

devours, 
Prey to me?nories that haunt thee e'en in visions of the 

night; 
And a year shall scarcely pluck thee from thy miserable 

plight." 

Such and divers such reproaches did I heap upon my 
soul. 

156 



LOVES 

And my soul in turn made answer: — ''fVhoso deems he 

can control 
fVily love, the same shall lightly gaze upon the stars of 

heaven 
And declare by what their number overpasses seven times 

seven. 
fVill I, nill /, I may never from my neck his yoke unloose. 
So, my friend, a god hath willed it: he whose plots could 

outwit Zeus, 
And the queen whose home is Cyprus. /, a leaflet of to-day, 
I whose breath is in my nostrils, am I wrong to own his 

sway?" 




FRJGMEJVT 

FROM THE "BERENICE" 

Te that would fain net fish and wealth withal, 
For bare existence harrowing yonder mere, 

To this our Lady slay at even-fall 

That holy fish, which, since it hath no peer 
For gloss and sheen, the dwellers about here 

Have named the Silver Fish. This done, let down 
Tour nets, and draw them up, and never fear 

To find them empty * * * 




EPIGRAMS AJVD EPITAPHS 




EPIGRAMS ^ EPITAPHS 



I 



Tours be yon dew-steep' d roses, yours be yon 
Thick-clustering ivy, maids of Helicon: 
Thiyie, Pythian Pcean, that dark-foliaged bay; 
fVith such thy Delphian crags thy front array. 
This hom'd and shaggy ram shall stain thy shrine^ 
Who crops e'en now the feathering turpentine. 



II 



To Pan doth white-limbed Daphnis offer here 
(He once piped sweetly on his herdsman's flute) 

His reeds of many a stop, his barbed spear. 
And scrip, wherein he held his hoards of fruit. 



163 



THEOCRITUS 



III 



Daphnis, thou slumberest on the leaf-strown lea. 
Thy frame at rest, thy springes newly spread 

O'er the fell-side. But two are hunting thee: 
Pan, and Priapus with his fair young head 

Hung with wan ivy. See! they come, they leap 
Into thy lair — fiyyfiyy — shake off the coil of sleep! 

IV 

For yon oaken avenue, swain, you must steer. 

Where a statue offigwood,you 'II see, has been set: 
It has never been harked, has three legs and no ear; 

But I think there is life in the patriarch yet. 
He is handsomely shrined within fair chapel-walls; 

Where, fringed with sweet cypress and myrtle and 
hay, 
A stream everfreshfrom the rock*s hollow falls. 

And the ringleted vine her ripe store doth display: 
And the hlackhirds, those shrill-piping songsters of 
spring, 

Wake the echoes with wild inarticulate song: 
And the notes of the nightingale plaintively ring. 

As she pours from her dun throat her lay sweet and 
strong. 

164 



EPIGRAMS AND EPITAPHS 

Sitting there, to Priapus, the gracious one, pray 

That the lore he has taught me I soon may unlearn : 

Say r II give him a kid, and in case he says nay 
To this offer, three victims to him will I bum ; 

A kid, a fleeced ram, and a lamb sleek and fat; 

He will listen, mayhap, to my prayers upon that. 



Prythee, sing something sweet to me — you that can play 
First and second at once. Then I too will essay 
To croak on the pipes: and yon lad shall salute 
Our ears with a melody breathed through his flute. 
In the cave by the green oak our watch we will keep, 
A?id goatish old Pan we 'II defraud of his sleep. 



VI 

Poor Thyrsis! What boots it to weep out thine eyes? 

Thy kid was a fair one, I own : 
But the wolf with his cruel claw made her his prize. 

And to darkness her spirit hath flown. 
Do the dogs cry? fVhat boots it? In spite of their cries 

There is left of her never a bone, 

165 



THEOCRITUS 

VII 

FOR A STATUE OF iESCULAPIUS 

Far as Miletus travelled Pceans son; 
There to he guest of JsTicias, guest of one 
Who heals all sickness; and who still reveres 
Him, for his sake this cedarn image rears. 
The sculptor's hand right well did JViciasflll; 
And here the sculptor lavished all his skill. 

VIII 

ORTHO'S EPITAPH 

Friend, Ortho of Syracuse gives thee this charge: 
J^ever venture out, drunk, on a wild winter's 
night. 
I did so and died. My possessions were large; 
Tet the turf that Fm clad with is strange to me 
quite. 

IX 

EPITAPH OF CLEONICUS 

Many husband existence: ne'er launch on the sea 
Out of season: our tenure of life is hut frail. 

166 



EPIGRAMS AND EPITAPHS 

Think of poor Cleonicus : Jor Phasos sailed he 

From the valleys of Syria, with many a bale: 
fVith many a bale, ocean's tides he would stem 
When the Pleiads were sinking; and he sank with 
them. 



FOR A STATUE OF THE MUSES 

To you this marble statue, maids divine, 
Xenocles raised, one tribute unto nine 
Tour votary all admit him: by this skill 
He gat him fame: and you he honours still. 



XI 

EPITAPH OF EUSTHENES 

Here the shrewd physiognomist Eusthenes lies, 
fVho could tell all your thoughts by a glance at your eyes, 
A stranger, with strangers his honoured bones rest; 
They valued sweet song, and he gave them his best. 
All the honours of death doth the poet possess: 
If a small one, they mourned for him nevertheless. 



167 



THEOCRITUS 



XII 



FOR A TRIPOD ERECTED BY DAMOTELES 
TO BACCHUS 

The precentor Damoteles, Bacchus, exalts 
Tour tripody and, sweetest of deities, you. 

He was champion of men, if his boyhood had faults; 
And he ever loved honour and seemliness too. 

XIII 

FOR A STATUE OF ANACREON 

This Statue, stranger, scan with earnest gaze; 

And, home returning, say ''I have beheld 
Anacreon, in Teos; him whose lays 

Were all unmatched among our sires of eld ^ 
Say further: ''Touth and beauty pleased him best;' 

And all the man will fairly stand exprest, 

XIV 

EPITAPH OF EURYMEDON 

Thou hast gone to the grave, and abandoned thy son 
Tet a babe, thy own manhood but scarcely begun. 
Thou art throned among gods: and thy country will take 
Thy child to her heart, for his brave father' s sake, 

168 



EPIGRAMS AND EPITAPHS 

XV 

ANOTHER 

Prove, traveller y now, that you honour the brave 
Above the poltroon, when he 's laid in the grave. 
By murmuring '^ Peace to Eurymedon dead.'' 
The turf should lie light on so sacred a head. 



XVI 

FOR A STATUE OF THE HEAVENLY 
APHRODITE 

Aphrodite stands here; she of heavenly birth; 
J^ot that base one who 's wooed by the children of 

earth. 
'T is a goddess; bow down. And one blemishless 

all, 
Chrysogone, placed her in Amphicles' hall: 
Chrysogonl's heart, as her children, was his, 
And each year they knew better what happiness is. 
For, Queen, at life's outset they made thee their 

friend; 
Religion is policy too in the end, 

169 



THEOCRITUS 

XVII 

TO EPICHARMUS 

Read these lines to Epicharmus. They are Dorian, as 
was he 

The sire of Comedy, 
Of his proper self bereaved, Bacchus, unto thee we rear 

His brazen image here; 
We in Syracuse who sojourn, elsewhere bom. Thus much 
we can 

Do for our countryman. 
Mindful of the debt we owe him. For, possessing ample 
store 

Of legendary lore. 
Many a wholesome word, to pilot youths and maids thro* 
life, he spake: 

We honour him for their sake. 



XVIII 

EPITAPH OF CLEITA NURSE OF MEDEIUS 

The babe Medeius to his Thracian nurse 
This stone — inscribed to cleita — reared in the 
mid-highway, 

170 



EPIGRAMS AND EPITAPHS 

Her modest virtues oft shall men rehearse; 
fVho doubts it? is not ''Cleitas worth'' a proverb to 
this day ? 

XIX 

TO ARCHILOCHUS 

Pause, and scan well Archilochus, the bard of elder 
daySy 

By east and west 
Alike 's confest 
The mighty lyrist* s praise . 
Delian Apollo loved him welly and well the sister-choir: 
His songs were fraught 
JVith subtle thought. 
And matchless was his lyre. 



XX 

UNDER A STATUE OF PEISANDER 
(who wrote the labours of HERACLES) 

He whom ye gaze on was the first 
That in quaint song the deeds rehearsed 
Of him whose arm was swift to smite, 
fVho dared the lion to the fight: 

in 



THEOCRITUS 

That tale, so strange, so manifold, 

Peisander of Cameirus told. 

For this good work, thou may'st be sure. 

His country placed him here. 

In solid brass that shall endure 

Through many a month and year, ^ 



XXI 

EPITAPH OF HIPPONAX 

Behold Hipponax' burialplace, 

A true bard's grave. 
Approach it not, if you We a base 

And base-bom knave. 
But if your sires were honest men 

And unblamed you. 
Sit down thereon serenely then. 

And eke sleep too. 

* * * 

Tuneful Hipponax rests him here. 
Let no base rascal venture near. 
Te who rank high in birth and mind 
Sit down — and sleep, if so inclined, 

172 



EPIGRAMS AND EPITAPHS 

XXII 

ON HIS OWN BOOK 

JsTot my namesake of Chios, but /, who belong 
To the Syracuse burghers, have sung you my song. 
Fm Praxagoras' son by Philinna the fair. 
And I never asked praise that was owing elsewhere. 




THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY COPIES 

PRINTED AT THE RIVERSIDE PRESS 

CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 

IN OCTOBER MCMVI 

NO. ^// 



-"/',.'■ 






















<r -^ *-** 



f( - '' 







fIM^ 













w^^4J^^:.:4-- 





' "^^'^> ''^.^'r.^ ..^ji'MyiHti 


^> ' N'^''''>^v^.^^fiC^38^^ 


•.-* ' » It^' '7- Vlf^ 


• -; ■■•*r' ^' \ V -' V'-'ikfe#Nfc*h<a 


^«j - i'*- ^^r'^^^ ^^ . TmjM^ifd 


Kjt'm- r ''^ '"Ikf^^nHttdi^jOri* 


•'■^ .^ /-jr^^gg^^pyyi 


:-':^^.4iii 


^1 


- . ,^'^,^»*^^ 


J^XiwH 




'KmSSI 


'•%\yi.s^i^^^(. 


"'^aC^^^^I 


^^t^^i^^^ai 


E9B 


- "^f/ ' •*^'^^'Srti'?^^5 


W^Ki3B<A